View synonyms for alternative


[ awl-tur-nuh-tiv, al- ]


  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.

    Synonyms: selection, option

  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.


  1. affording a choice of two or more things, propositions, or courses of action.
  2. (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.

  3. employing or following nontraditional or unconventional ideas, methods, etc.; existing outside the establishment:

    an alternative newspaper; alternative lifestyles.

  4. Logic. (of a proposition) asserting two or more choices, at least one of which is true.


/ ɔːlˈtɜːnətɪv /


  1. a possibility of choice, esp between two things, courses of action, etc
  2. either of such choices

    we took the alternative of walking


  1. presenting a choice, esp between two possibilities only
  2. (of two things) mutually exclusive
  3. 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
  4. logic another word for disjunctive

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Derived Forms

  • alˈternatively, adverb
  • alˈternativeness, noun

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Other Words From

  • al·ter·na·tive·ly adverb
  • al·ter·na·tive·ness al·ter·na·tiv·i·ty [awl-tur-n, uh, -, tiv, -i-tee, al-], noun
  • qua·si-al·ter·na·tive adjective

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Word History and Origins

Origin of alternative1

First recorded in 1580–90; alternate + -ive

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Synonym Study

See choice.

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Example Sentences

Similarly, representatives from Quaker tell Eater that rice cakes were first launched as “a low-carb alternative to bread” in the mid-’80s.

From Eater

If you’re looking for something to help you get healthier and more active, or just an alternative to your current workout routine, look for tiktoks with specific instructions.

The technology essentially combines the performance benefits of the diesel engine design with the low costs and the low emissions associated with these alternative fuels, co-founder and CEO BJ Johnson said in a recent interview with TechCrunch.

There are, today, a large number of groups that continue to spread misleading health information or push users to try alternative or untested cures.

The coronavirus pandemic is set to change the way millions of Americans can vote in November, as states expand access to mail-in voting as a safer alternative to in-person voting.

Whatever the FBI says, the truthers will create alternative hypotheses that try to challenge the ‘official story.’

It reminded me a bit of an alternative take on The Wolf of Wall Street—through the Toni and Candace lens.

Already, 10 Republicans have declared they will vote for an alternative candidate and more seemed poised to join.

No longer does it constitute a reliable, middle class-based alternative to the corporatist mindset of the Republicans.

Another dark horse, Tennessee Senator Al Gore, was finding little traction in his efforts to become a centrist alternative.

"I will," gruffly replied the man, with a look which showed that he was sorry to be forced to choose the second alternative.

He had no alternative; he had as large interests in England as in Scotland, and armed opposition was out of the question.

Mr. Balfour, being an abstemious man, would not submit to the latter alternative, but consented to tell a story.

Comyn chose the latter alternative; and the agreement was guaranteed by oaths and embodied in indentures duly sealed.

The future composer had no alternative but to study these works in pianoforte arrangements.


Related Words




alternation of generationsalternative conjunction