Dictionary > English Dictionary > Definition, synonym and antonym of alternative
Meaning of alternative by Wiktionary Dictionary



    From Middle French alternatif, from Medieval Latin alternativus, from the participle stem of Latin alternāre ( “to do by turns” ). Compare alternate .


    • ( UK ) IPA: /ɒltəːnətɪv/


    alternative ( not comparable )

    1. Relating to a choice between two or more possibilities
    2. Not traditional ( an alternative lifestyle )
    3. Other

    Derived terms

    Related terms

    • alternate
    • alternativeness
    • alternativism


    alternative ( plural: alternatives )

    1. A situation which allows a mutually exclusive choice between two or more possibilities; a choice between two or more possibilities. [from 17th c.]
    2. One of several mutually exclusive things which can be chosen. [from 17th c.]
    3. The remaining option; something available after other possibilities have been exhausted. [from 18th c.]


    • See also Wikisaurus:option

    See also

    See also

    • alternative in Webster’s Revised Unabridged Dictionary, G. & C. Merriam, 1913
    • alternative in The Century Dictionary, The Century Co., New York, 1911

Explanation of alternative by Wordnet Dictionary


    1. necessitating a choice between mutually exclusive possibilities

    2. alternative possibilities were neutrality or war
    3. pertaining to unconventional choices

    4. an alternative life style
    5. serving or used in place of another

    6. an alternative plan
    1. one of a number of things from which only one can be chosen

    2. there no other alternative

    Definition of alternative by GCIDE Dictionary


    1. Alternative a. [Cf. F. alternatif.]
      1. Offering a choice of two things.

      2. Disjunctive; as, “an alternative conjunction”.

      3. Alternate; reciprocal. [Obs.] Holland.

    2. Alternative, n. [Cf. F. alternative, LL. alternativa.]
      1. An offer of two things, one of which may be chosen, but not both; a choice between two things, so that if one is taken, the other must be left.

      There is something else than the mere alternative of absolute destruction or unreformed existence. Burke.

      2. Either of two things or propositions offered to one's choice. Thus when two things offer a choice of one only, the two things are called alternatives.

      Having to choose between two alternatives, safety and war, you obstinately prefer the worse. Jowett ( Thucyd. ).

      3. The course of action or the thing offered in place of another.

      If this demand is refused the alternative is war. Lewis.

      With no alternative but death. Longfellow.

      4. A choice between more than two things; one of several things offered to choose among.

      My decided preference is for the fourth and last of these alternatives. Gladstone.