Alternating – Definition & Meaning

The term “alternating” is one that we come across quite often in our daily lives. It is used to describe a process or pattern that involves a sequence of changes from one state to another. In this article, we will explore the definition and meaning of alternating, its origins, and its various associations.


The term alternating can be defined as the process of changing or shifting back and forth between two or more things. It can also refer to a pattern or sequence in which two or more things are repeated in turn.


The word “alternating” has its roots in the Latin word “alternare,” which means “to do one thing and then another.” The term was first used in the English language in the early 17th century.

Meaning in different dictionaries

According to the Oxford English Dictionary, the term alternating means “occurring in succession, one after another.” The Merriam-Webster dictionary defines it as “occurring or following in turns.”


The term alternating is often associated with a variety of concepts, including:

  • Electrical current: Alternating current (AC) is a type of electrical current that changes direction periodically.
  • Sports: Alternating teams is a common practice in many sports, such as basketball and soccer.
  • Rhythm: Alternating rhythms can be found in music, poetry, and dance.


Some synonyms of alternating include:

  • Rotating.
  • Interchanging.
  • Swapping.
  • Fluctuating.
  • Oscillating.


Some antonyms of alternating include:

  • Steady.
  • Constant.
  • Unchanging.
  • Fixed.
  • Static.

The same root words

Some words that share the same root as alternating include:

  • Alternate.
  • Alteration.
  • Alternation.

Example Sentences

Here are a few examples of how the term alternating can be used in a sentence:

  • The team captain decided to alternate the players to keep them fresh.
  • The alternating current in the power grid ensures that electricity can be transmitted over long distances.
  • The poem’s alternating rhyme scheme created a pleasing rhythm.
  • The weather has been alternating between hot and cold all week.
  • The alternating colors of the flag represent the country’s unity and diversity.
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