- 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 for alternative on Thesaurus.com
Examples from the Web for alternatively
Sudden peace, buoyancy, contentment, or alternatively sorrow or physical pain.Knocking on Heaven's Door: True Stories of Unexplained, Uncanny Experiences at the Hour of Death
August 11, 2014
Alternatively, there is an informal proposal to set up a special inquiry into atrocities in Syria.U.S.: Assad’s ‘Machinery of Death’ Worst Since the Nazis
July 7, 2014
Or, alternatively, we could run away scot-free down Fifth Avenue and pause now and then to inseminate someone.The Ridiculousness of Father's Day
P. J. O’Rourke
June 15, 2014
Or, alternatively, why should we think that the way the state has currently determined that question is the correct one?How Cliven Bundy and the Land Rights Movement Screws Native Americans
May 14, 2014
Alternatively, Paul could just coast to an easy senate reelection and enjoy life on the 2016 sidelines.President or Senator? Pick One, Rand Paul
March 22, 2014
Alternatively, the draw SDRs and convert them to the aforementioned "hard" currencies.After the Rain
The piers of the Nave are alternatively circular and octagonal.The Cathedrals of Great Britain
P. H. Ditchfield
Alternatively, we should have to pronounce this whole surplus unsaleable.The Accumulation of Capital
Alternatively the gods lift the earth out of the primeval waters.An Introduction to Mythology
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
- 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 alternatively
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.