- 1 [attributive] (Of one or more things) available as another possibility or choice: the various alternative methods for resolving disputesMore example sentences
- Can you talk about how and why it was humanism that triumphed over alternative possibilities?
- In recent years several sites have been examined as a possible alternative home for the Abbey.
- It is perfectly possible that an alternative government would overturn a hunting ban.
- 1.1(Of two things) mutually exclusive: the facts fit two alternative scenariosMore example sentences
- The book answers all these questions by analogy, with instances from the alternative America of the novel.
- The alternative scenario is not one that City fans will want to think too much about.
- The only legal alternative, a fresh set of elections, would solve nothing.
- 2Of or relating to activities that depart from or challenge traditional norms: an alternative lifestyleMore example sentences
unorthodox, unconventional, non-standard, unusual, uncommon, unwonted, out of the ordinary, radical, revolutionary, nonconformist, unconforming, irregular, offbeat, off-centre, avant-garde; original, new, novel, fresh; eccentric, exotic, Bohemian, idiosyncratic, abnormal, extreme, divergent, aberrant, anomalous, bizarre, outlandish, perverse• rare heteroclite
- Look at some of the most experimental alternative music going around at the moment.
- Both traditional doctors and alternative therapists work to the best of their ability in any given situation.
- Bizarrely, it completely omits any reference to alternative lifestyles or kinks of any kind.
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- One of two or more available possibilities: audio cassettes are an interesting alternative to reading she had no alternative but to break the lawMore example sentences
- It assumes that citizens are rational and aware of all possible alternatives.
- The evening that it started, the local news ran a story on possible alternatives to driving.
- There is no excuse for wearing real fur with so many humane alternatives now available.
mid 16th century (in the sense 'alternating, alternate'): from French alternatif, -ive or medieval Latin alternativus, from Latin alternare 'interchange' (see alternate).
Some traditionalists maintain that you can only have a maximum of two alternatives, because the word alternative comes from Latin alter ‘other (of two)’) and that uses where there are more than two alternatives are wrong. Such uses are, however, normal in modern standard English. See also alternate (usage).