- a choice limited to one of two or more possibilities, as of things, propositions, or courses of action, the selection of which precludes any other possibility: You have the alternative of riding or walking.
- one of the things, propositions, or courses of action that can be chosen: The alternative to riding is walking.
- a possible or remaining course or choice: There was no alternative but to walk.
- affording a choice of two or more things, propositions, or courses of action.
- (of two things, propositions, or courses) mutually exclusive so that if one is chosen the other must be rejected: The alternative possibilities are neutrality and war.
- employing or following nontraditional or unconventional ideas, methods, etc.; existing outside the establishment: an alternative newspaper; alternative lifestyles.
- Logic. (of a proposition) asserting two or more choices, at least one of which is true.
Origin of alternative
SynonymsSee more synonyms on Thesaurus.com
Examples from the Web for alternative
It reminded me a bit of an alternative take on The Wolf of Wall Street—through the Toni and Candace lens.Coffee Talk with Fred Armisen: On ‘Portlandia,’ Meeting Obama, and Taylor Swift’s Greatness
January 7, 2015
Already, 10 Republicans have declared they will vote for an alternative candidate and more seemed poised to join.Kamikaze Congress Prepares to Strike Boehner
January 6, 2015
And, if these alternative foods were indeed similar in food value to pine nuts, why are the bears not already wolfing them down?What It Takes to Kill a Grizzly Bear
November 23, 2014
When I was growing up they called Green Day and Nirvana and Smashing Pumpkins “alternative pop.”
The first Bleachers single went to number one in alternative and all the shows have been sold out lately.
Master Headley did not like the alternative at all, and was a good deal perplexed.The Armourer's Prentices
Charlotte M. Yonge
In the absence of overtures there was no alternative but to march on Paris.Camps, Quarters and Casual Places
An acceptance so direct left Clarence no alternative: his fate was decided.Tales And Novels, Volume 3 (of 10)
There was no alternative now but to cross the barrens to Whale River on foot.The Long Labrador Trail
Henry Dunbar was resolute; and the young lawyer had no alternative.Henry Dunbar
M. E. Braddon
- a possibility of choice, esp between two things, courses of action, etc
- either of such choiceswe took the alternative of walking
- presenting a choice, esp between two possibilities only
- (of two things) mutually exclusive
- denoting a lifestyle, culture, art form, etc, regarded by its adherents as preferable to that of contemporary society because it is less conventional, materialistic, or institutionalized, and, often, more in harmony with nature
- logic another word for disjunctive (def. 3)
Word Origin and History for alternative
1580s, "offering one or the other of two," from Medieval Latin alternativus, from Latin alternatus, past participle of alternare (see alternate (v.)). Meaning "purporting to be a superior choice to what is in general use" was current by 1970 (earliest reference is to the media); e.g. alternative energy (1975). Related: Alternatively.
1620s, in rhetoric, from Medieval Latin alternativus (see alternative (adj.)). Of courses of action, from 1814. Of objects, etc., "the other of two which may be chosen," by 1838.