• synonyms


[awl-tuh-rey-tiv, -ter-uh-tiv]
  1. tending to alter.
  2. Medicine/Medical Obsolete. gradually restoring healthy bodily functions.
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  1. Medicine/Medical Obsolete. an alterative remedy.
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Origin of alterative

First recorded in 1350–1400; Middle English word from Medieval Latin word alterātīvus. See alter, -ative
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for alterative

Historical Examples of alterative

  • I determined to try the poison of jealousy, by way of an alterative.

    Tales And Novels, Volume 3 (of 10)

    Maria Edgeworth

  • In India it is used for the piles and as an alterative for bilious disorders.

  • Does the skin undergo any alterative or destructive changes?

    Essentials of Diseases of the Skin

    Henry Weightman Stelwagon

  • The alterative medicine was to be given in tablespoonfuls—two tablespoonfuls to a dose.

  • Others have employed it as an alterative and tonic with variable success.

British Dictionary definitions for alterative


  1. likely or able to produce alteration
  2. obsolete (of a drug) able to restore normal health
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  1. obsolete a drug that restores normal health
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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