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alternative

[awl-tur-nuh-tiv, al-] /ɔlˈtɜr nə tɪv, æl-/
noun
1.
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.
2.
one of the things, propositions, or courses of action that can be chosen:
The alternative to riding is walking.
3.
a possible or remaining course or choice:
There was no alternative but to walk.
adjective
4.
affording a choice of two or more things, propositions, or courses of action.
5.
(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.
6.
employing or following nontraditional or unconventional ideas, methods, etc.; existing outside the establishment:
an alternative newspaper; alternative lifestyles.
7.
Logic. (of a proposition) asserting two or more choices, at least one of which is true.
Also, alternate (for defs 1–4, 6).
Origin of alternative
1580-1590
First recorded in 1580-90; alternate + -ive
Related forms
alternatively, adverb
alternativeness, alternativity, noun
quasi-alternative, adjective
quasi-alternatively, adverb
Can be confused
alternate, alternative.
Synonyms
1. option, selection.
Synonym Study
1. See choice.
Dictionary.com Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2017.
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Examples from the Web for alternatively
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • alternatively, the draw SDRs and convert them to the aforementioned "hard" currencies.

    After the Rain Sam Vaknin
  • The piers of the Nave are alternatively circular and octagonal.

  • alternatively, we should have to pronounce this whole surplus unsaleable.

  • alternatively the gods lift the earth out of the primeval waters.

  • The new commodity and its purchase price are in reality symbols for alternatively possible systems of life and action.

    Creative Intelligence John Dewey, Addison W. Moore, Harold Chapman Brown, George H. Mead, Boyd H. Bode, Henry Waldgrave, Stuart James, Hayden Tufts, Horace M. Kallen
British Dictionary definitions for alternatively

alternative

/ɔːlˈtɜːnətɪv/
noun
1.
a possibility of choice, esp between two things, courses of action, etc
2.
either of such choices: we took the alternative of walking
adjective
3.
presenting a choice, esp between two possibilities only
4.
(of two things) mutually exclusive
5.
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
6.
(logic) another word for disjunctive (sense 3)
Derived Forms
alternatively, adverb
alternativeness, noun
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
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Word Origin and History for alternatively

alternative

adj.

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.

alternative

n.

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.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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