adj. & n.
adj. 1 (of one or more things) available or usable instead of another (an alternative route). °Use with reference to more than two options (e.g. many alternative methods) is common, and acceptable. 2 (of two things) mutually exclusive. 3 of or relating to practices that offer a substitute for the conventional ones (alternative medicine; alternative theatre).
n. 1 any of two or more possibilities. 2 the freedom or opportunity to choose between two or more things (I had no alternative but to go). the alternative society a group of people dissociating themselves from conventional society and its values. alternatively adv.
[ F alternatif -ive or med.L alternativus (as ALTERNATE) ]