Alternative – Definition & Meaning

Alternative is a term that is commonly used in various contexts such as politics, medicine, and lifestyle. It is a word that has multiple meanings and can be interpreted differently depending on the situation. In this article, we will explore the different definitions and meanings of alternative, its origin, associations, synonyms, antonyms, and examples of its usage.


Alternative is a word that can be used as a noun, adjective, or adverb. As a noun, alternative refers to a choice or option that is different from the usual or conventional one. It can also mean a lifestyle or approach that is different from the mainstream. As an adjective, alternative describes something that is different or unconventional. As an adverb, alternative means in a different way or manner.


The word alternative comes from the Latin word alternativus, which means “every other” or “taking turns.” It was first used in the English language in the early 16th century.

Meaning in different dictionaries

The meaning of alternative varies slightly depending on the dictionary. According to the Oxford English Dictionary, alternative means “available as another possibility or choice.” Merriam-Webster defines alternative as “offering or expressing a choice” or “different from the usual or conventional.” The Cambridge Dictionary defines alternative as “something that is different from something else, especially from what is usual, and offering the possibility of choice.”


Alternative is often associated with non-traditional or unconventional methods, practices, or lifestyles. It is also associated with the rejection of mainstream ideas or practices. In politics, alternative is often used to describe political parties or movements that are not part of the mainstream.


Some synonyms of alternative include option, choice, substitute, replacement, different, unconventional, and non-traditional.


The antonyms of alternative include conventional, traditional, usual, mainstream, and standard.

The same root words

The word alternative comes from the Latin word alternativus, which is derived from the word alternare, which means “to do in turns.” Other words that have the same root include alternate, alternating, and alternation.

Example Sentences

  1. I’m considering alternative methods of treatment for my illness.
  2. The alternative route to the airport is faster than the usual one.
  3. He chose an alternative lifestyle and moved to a commune.
  4. The alternative energy source is more sustainable than fossil fuels.
  5. The alternative rock band gained popularity in the 1990s.
  6. The alternative medicine practitioner recommended acupuncture for my back pain.
  7. The alternative political party gained support from young voters.
  8. The company offered an alternative product to the one that was out of stock.
  9. The alternative plan was put into action when the original one failed.
  10. The alternative ending to the movie was more satisfying than the original.
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