Word Origin See more synonyms on Thesaurus.com to make different in some particular, as size, style, course, or the like; modify: to alter a coat; to alter a will; to alter course. to castrate or spay. verb (used without object) to change; become different or modified. Origin of alter 1350–1400; Middle English < Old French alterer < Late Latin alterāre to change, worsen, derivative of Latin alter other Related forms al·ter·er, noun half-al·tered, adjective pre·al·ter, verb (used with object) re·al·ter, verb un·al·ter·ing, adjective well-al·tered, adjective Can be confused altar alter
Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018
British Dictionary definitions for alterer to make or become different in some respect; change (tr) informal, mainly US a euphemistic word for castrate, spay Derived Forms alterable, adjective alterably, adverb alterability, noun Word Origin
C14: from Old French
alterer, from Medieval Latin alterāre to change, from Latin alter other
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
Word Origin and History for alterer alter v.
late 14c., "to change (something)," from Old French
alterer "change, alter," from Medieval Latin alterare "to change," from Latin alter "the other (of the two)," from PIE *al- "beyond" (see alias (adv.)) + comparative suffix -ter (cf. other). Intransitive sense "to become otherwise" first recorded 1580s. Related: Altered; altering.
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper