One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
The right or status a novillero or apprentice bullfighter earns which entitles him to compete as a full matador.
Late 19th century. From Spanish alternativa right or status earned by an apprentice bullfighter entitling him to compete as a full matador, ceremony at which this new status is confirmed, apparently a specific use of alternativa right to hold an office, enjoy a benefice, or exercise a public function in turn with another person or group of people, in turn a specific use of alternativa. The right and ceremony are so called because the young matador is given the right to alternate with full matadors in fights.
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