Definition of alter in English:

alter

verb

  • 1Change in character or composition, typically in a comparatively small but significant way.

    [with object] ‘Eliot was persuaded to alter the passage’
    [no object] ‘our outward appearance alters as we get older’
    ‘an altered state’
    • ‘The direction of a reaction can usually be controlled by altering the conditions of the reaction.’
    • ‘The English ruling class was wiped out and the character of the nation altered forever.’
    • ‘Even now, genetic screening has the potential to alter the genetic composition of the population.’
    • ‘There was no man in sight and as she busied herself around the house, Rod altered his plans.’
    • ‘Language change may be a general feature of wartime, yet the way in which words are altered differs from war to war.’
    • ‘Residents' concerns over excessive traffic in Burdon Lane could soon be addressed if councillors back new plans to alter traffic signals.’
    • ‘Chronic exposure of skin to sunlight substantially alters the biochemical composition and architecture of the dermis.’
    • ‘Grid prices and feed costs alter target composition and marketing date of feedlot cattle.’
    • ‘In many cases, human actions may merely alter the character of habitats rather than eliminate them.’
    • ‘Like McEwan's Amsterdam, Atonement and Enduring Love, Saturday turns on a single event that forever alters its characters' lives.’
    • ‘Digitally alter all the alien characters so they have 2 heads because that would look so cool.’
    • ‘Where vegetation composition is altered and floral richness threatened, the results will ultimately be felt by us all.’
    • ‘The family has been undergoing major structural changes that are altering women's roles.’
    • ‘One hypothesis is that they actually alter the chemical composition of the atmosphere, thus playing a role in ozone depletion and the climate on Earth.’
    • ‘During the course of the show, he altered the character of two sculptures by revising the installation.’
    • ‘Any amount of habitat that is destroyed or altered would have a significant impact.’
    • ‘Nonetheless, a Confucian moral point is made in this tale in that exemplary behaviour is shown to alter a person's character.’
    • ‘The emulsifying chemical then alters the chemical composition of the fat so that it is turned into soap.’
    • ‘One would presume that any significant change would alter the power balance within the party.’
    • ‘The change in plans, however, altered the application to funding bodies like the Lottery Heritage Fund and the bid to secure the cash failed.’
    change, become different, undergo a change, undergo a sea change, turn, adjust, adapt, convert, vary, transform, metamorphose, evolve, improve
    change, make changes to, make different, make alterations to, adjust, make adjustments to, adapt, amend, improve, modify, convert, revise, recast, reform, reshape, refashion, redesign, restyle, revamp, rework, remake, remodel, remould, redo, reconstruct, reorganize, reorder, refine, reorient, reorientate, vary, transform, transfigure, transmute, evolve
    View synonyms
    1. 1.1[with object]Make structural changes to (a building)
      ‘plans to alter the dining hall’
      • ‘I think the Stadium Australia people would say that when the stadium is reconfigured, and they're still in the process of altering the stadium, that they'll be able to have a lot more events.’
      • ‘He started to alter his own home, transforming a rustic wood cabin into a sculptural environment.’
      • ‘Restoration not replacement, bringing the derelict back into use, altering old buildings to make them attractive to a new generation - these are the available moves.’
      • ‘Plans to alter a pub in the oldest area of Skipton have failed to find favour with local councillors.’
      • ‘Listed buildings cannot be structurally altered without the permission of English Heritage.’
      • ‘As well as the internal works, the external elevation of the building will be altered and new signage will be erected.’
      • ‘His mother protests that she does not want to alter this house.’
      • ‘The structure of the home meant they could not alter the building to meet this regulation without becoming financially unviable.’
      • ‘However, the downside could come years later if building use changes or if the building is altered.’
      • ‘McDonough believes in not only fundamentally altering buildings, but also changing the way things are made, to make the planet a better place.’
      • ‘Has the house been altered or extended without considering the planning procedures?’
      • ‘It means the building cannot be demolished or altered in any significant way.’
      • ‘Mrs. Winchester believed ill would befall her if she ever stopped altering her sprawling mansion.’
      • ‘A City of York Council spokesman said the authority would not have to be informed if the repairs were like for like and would not alter the building.’
      • ‘The north range of buildings was altered to bring it up to modern farming standards and it continued in farm use until the 1990s.’
      • ‘But the Government department has decided the building has been altered too much to merit a listing.’
      • ‘Mrs Clegg realised there was a nest in her roof after seeing a couple of wasps fly in and out of a small gap above the back bedroom window, a gap she claims the council left after altering the house 10 years ago.’
      • ‘We applied, as the landowner on behalf of Southern, for the proper permissions to alter the existing depot building.’
      • ‘The proposal involves altering a farm building into storage and offices which would be used for the applicant's four separate development companies and kitchen and domestic furniture business.’
      • ‘Fortunately not one of the occupying institutions had attempted to alter the villa.’
    2. 1.2Australian, North American [with object]Castrate or spay (a domestic animal).
      • ‘The humane society will alter kittens as young as eight weeks of age.’

Origin

Late Middle English: from Old French alterer, from late Latin alterare, from Latin alter other.

Pronunciation:

alter

/ˈɒltə//ˈɔːltə/