- 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 alternatives
We were on her roof talking and trying to come up with ideas, to think of alternatives to renting a studio.#Setinthestreet: Your Street Corner Is Their Art Project
December 24, 2014
The result was a system not open to alternatives from the outside and with no internal incentives for innovation.Your Local School Doesn’t Have to Suck
Michael S. Roth
December 17, 2014
So turning to calorie-free, “diet-friendly” alternatives makes sense, right?Are Artificial Sweeteners Wrecking Your Diet?
September 30, 2014
The closing lecture also presents questions that Chomsky never answers—mainly one of alternatives.Noam Chomsky—Infuriating and Necessary
September 28, 2014
Increasingly, the radical alternatives of giving up on politics or giving up on the United States seem like the only alternatives.America’s Slumbering Secession Obsession
September 23, 2014
Of these alternatives only the second can, in reality, be correct.Freeland
And the more so as he computed the alternatives of victory or death.Hellenica
You make the alternatives certain ruin and possible salvation.
She ought to have the facts, and be allowed to face the alternatives before it is too late.
Such are the terms he offers; such are the alternatives his kindness suggests.The O'Donoghue
Charles James Lever
- 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 alternatives
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.