Meaning of ALTERNATIVE in English

■ adjective

1》 (of one or more things) available as another possibility.

↘(of two things) mutually exclusive.

2》 relating to activities that depart from or challenge traditional norms.

■ noun one of two or more available possibilities.


~ly adverb


C16: from Fr. alternatif , -ive or med. L. alternativus , from L. alternat- , alternare 'do by turns', from alternus 'every other', from alter 'other of two'.


Some traditionalists maintain that, because of the word's origin, you can only have a maximum of two ~s, and that uses where there are more than two are wrong. Such uses are, however, normal in modern standard English.

Concise Oxford English vocab.      Сжатый оксфордский словарь английского языка.