Definition of alternative in English:

alternative

adjective

  • 1[attributive] (of one or more things) available as another possibility.

    ‘the various alternative methods for resolving disputes’
    ‘the alternative definition of democracy as popular power’
    • ‘Walsh says the company will just have to be innovative in seeking alternative forms of finance.’
    • ‘If it is not available, an alternative venue would have to be found or the hearing adjourned.’
    • ‘Peanut flour is a cheap and quick alternative method for thickening dishes.’
    • ‘The council wants children to be aware of alternative, greener methods of getting to school.’
    • ‘We will be contacting them again when an alternative service is available.’
    • ‘An alternative method is to use a blow torch which will soften the varnish or paint, allowing easy removal with a scraper.’
    • ‘In recent years several sites have been examined as a possible alternative home for the Abbey.’
    • ‘Bosses have promised to find alternative jobs within the company for as many people as possible.’
    • ‘In fact the experience made me wish that I had taken an alternative form of transport.’
    • ‘Where such data are not available, there are alternative ways of securing suitable information.’
    • ‘Our lease expires next year and we need to find an alternative home as quickly as possible.’
    • ‘Can you talk about how and why it was humanism that triumphed over alternative possibilities?’
    • ‘An alternative surface level crossing is also available, so road crossing is unaffected.’
    • ‘He even suggests that the argument has merit by moving onto the issue of possible alternative sources of funding.’
    • ‘It is perfectly possible that an alternative government would overturn a hunting ban.’
    • ‘Which of all the uneliminated alternative possibilities may not properly be ignored?’
    • ‘Organisers have also made sure there will be alternative traffic routes available.’
    • ‘They are being offered alternative seats as similar as possible to the ones they have at Maine Road.’
    • ‘Occasionally, though, I do browse around for alternative flavours and new experiences.’
    • ‘I mean they ought to be able to reflect on possible alternative views, and some do.’
    different, other, another, second, possible, substitute, replacement
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    1. 1.1 (of two things) mutually exclusive.
      ‘the facts fit two alternative scenarios’
      • ‘So until the alternative route is available I expect to be able to use the existing roadway for access purposes.’
      • ‘It is in the public interest that they be both experienced and expert: the alternative is unacceptable.’
      • ‘The alternative scenario is not one that City fans will want to think too much about.’
      • ‘The book answers all these questions by analogy, with instances from the alternative America of the novel.’
      • ‘The only legal alternative, a fresh set of elections, would solve nothing.’
    2. 1.2 Relating to behavior that is considered unconventional and is often seen as a challenge to traditional norms.
      ‘an alternative lifestyle’
      ‘they have one foot in alternative music and the other in rock’
      • ‘They've been known to hassle people who choose alternative lifestyles and dodge taxes.’
      • ‘I was living an alternative lifestyle before anyone had thought of the expression.’
      • ‘Witchcraft has come out of the shadows and is entering British society as a viable alternative lifestyle.’
      • ‘There are lots of alternative lifestyles in the area, as can be seen by the area's cafés and stores.’
      • ‘I think this is what appealed to our adolescent selves, as it appeals to a lot of fans of alternative music.’
      • ‘The band Hell is for Heroes has denounced it as ‘a great blow to alternative music’.’
      • ‘Bizarrely, it completely omits any reference to alternative lifestyles or kinks of any kind.’
      • ‘An article such as this one marks a sad day in the realm of so-called alternative press.’
      • ‘Find the best alternative therapy for your lifestyle and health needs.’
      • ‘Here in the States, alternative media have become extremely compartmentalised.’
      • ‘They insisted it was the only venue for alternative music in this city of 850,000 people.’
      • ‘Coldplay were also winners, taking the alternative music album award for Parachutes.’
      • ‘It used to sell books and pamphlets about alternative cultures and lifestyles.’
      • ‘Listening to this record momentarily makes one feel that all is well in alternative music.’
      • ‘She loves alternative music and watching all sorts of sports though she says she is a total loser at most of them.’
      • ‘Both traditional doctors and alternative therapists work to the best of their ability in any given situation.’
      • ‘Are you influenced by alternative music, is that something you have a passion for?’
      • ‘The music is mainstream alternative pop and rock music, with little or no variation.’
      • ‘Look at some of the most experimental alternative music going around at the moment.’
      • ‘Terror Trax was a haven for what we hoped would be the next phase of alternative music.’
      unorthodox, unconventional, non-standard, unusual, uncommon, unwonted, out of the ordinary, radical, revolutionary, nonconformist, unconforming, irregular, offbeat, off-centre, avant-garde
      View synonyms

noun

  • One of two or more available possibilities.

    ‘audiocassettes are an interesting alternative to reading’
    ‘she had no alternative but to break the law’
    • ‘You are better off to have a number of alternatives available to you in case of an emergency.’
    • ‘Shouldn't we take this opportunity to review the situation and debate alternatives?’
    • ‘It is not as if there is some ready alternative available to citizens carrying out official duties.’
    • ‘She is a constant reminder that an alternative was once possible, which might flower again.’
    • ‘We cannot say that alternatives have not been tried but it is possible that we have not tried hard enough.’
    • ‘The launch of Oven Chips offered a healthier and more convenient alternative to traditional chips.’
    • ‘It assumes that citizens are rational and aware of all possible alternatives.’
    • ‘The lack of alternatives to an illegal action does not legitimise that action.’
    • ‘Ministers claim that an adequate alternative is available for men and women who are cohabiting.’
    • ‘This had been set up by left wing activists as an alternative to the mainstream, segregated colleges.’
    • ‘The evening that it started, the local news ran a story on possible alternatives to driving.’
    • ‘In the light of the discontent on the back-benches, we have to have alternatives.’
    • ‘It will also be a great chance to discuss what sort of alternatives to capitalism are possible.’
    • ‘Are there no alternatives that might provide better options for gay people?’
    • ‘There is no excuse for wearing real fur with so many humane alternatives now available.’
    • ‘Teenagers at the meeting said they hung around on street corners as there were no alternatives for them.’
    • ‘It's making me feel better just knowing that I have alternatives to the current situation.’
    • ‘If you don't want to go the whole hog by designing and building your own house, there are alternatives.’
    • ‘Our task is to ensure that there are real alternatives from which people may choose.’
    • ‘Each client is informed about what foods to avoid and advised about alternatives they can eat and drink.’
    option, choice, other possibility
    substitute, replacement, proxy, reserve, surrogate, stand-in
    possible course of action, resort, way out
    View synonyms

Usage

1Alternate can be a verb, noun, or adjective, while alternative can be a noun or adjective. In both American and British English, the adjective alternate means ‘every other’ (there will be a dance on alternate Saturdays) and the adjective alternative means ‘available as another choice’ (an alternative route; alternative medicine; alternative energy sources). In American usage, however, alternate can also be used to mean ‘available as another choice’: an alternate plan called for construction to begin immediately rather than waiting for spring. Likewise, a book club may offer an ‘alternate selection’ as an alternative to the main selection. 2 Some traditionalists maintain, from an etymological standpoint, that you can have only two alternatives (from the Latin alter ‘other (of two); the other’) and that uses of more than two alternatives are erroneous. Such uses are, however, normal in modern standard English

Origin

Mid 16th century (in the sense alternating, alternate): from French alternatif, -ive or medieval Latin alternativus, from Latin alternare interchange (see alternate).

Pronunciation:

alternative

/ôlˈtərnədiv/