Meaning of ALTERNATIVE in English

I. al ‧ ter ‧ na ‧ tive 1 S2 W2 AC /ɔːlˈtɜːnətɪv $ ɒːlˈtɜːr-, æl-/ BrE AmE adjective

[ Word Family: noun : ↑ alternative ; adverb : ↑ alternatively ; adjective : ↑ alternative ]

1 . [only before noun] an alternative idea, plan etc is different from the one you have and can be used instead

alternative ways/approach/methods etc

alternative approaches to learning

Have you any alternative suggestions?

An alternative route is along the Via Unione.

2 . deliberately different from what is usual, expected, or traditional

alternative music/theatre etc

Tucson’s alternative radio station

sources of alternative energy (=energy produced by the sun, wind etc rather than by gas, coal etc)

tolerance of alternative lifestyles

alternative medicine/therapies (=medical treatment that is not based on the usual western methods)

Acupuncture is widely used by practitioners of alternative medicine.

—alternatively adverb :

You can relax on the beach or alternatively try the bustling town centre.

II. alternative 2 S2 W3 AC BrE AmE noun [countable]

[ Word Family: noun : ↑ alternative ; adverb : ↑ alternatively ; adjective : ↑ alternative ]

something you can choose to do or use instead of something else

alternative to

Is there a viable alternative to the present system?

If payment is not received legal action will be our only alternative.

I had no alternative but to report him to the police.

He quickly assessed what alternatives were open to him.

• • •


■ adjectives

▪ a good/attractive alternative

If you don’t want curtains, blinds are a good alternative.

▪ a possible/acceptable/satisfactory alternative

I’m busy tomorrow but Wednesday is a possible alternative.

▪ a real/serious alternative

Co-operation offers the only real alternative.

▪ a viable alternative (=that can work as successfully)

Hydrogen offers a viable alternative to petrol and diesel.

▪ a practical alternative

This treatment represents a practical alternative to surgery.

▪ a cheap alternative

A take-away is a cheap alternative to eating out.

▪ a safe alternative

Will there ever be a safe alternative to nuclear power?

▪ a healthy alternative

Low-fat biscuits are a healthy alternative to cake.

■ verbs

▪ have an alternative

You have a few alternatives to choose from.

▪ offer/provide an alternative

If your first choice is not available, we always have alternatives to offer.

▪ suggest an alternative

Do you have an alternative you can suggest?

▪ seek an alternative

People are seeking alternatives to meat-based dishes.

▪ find an alternative

The program is directed to finding alternatives to oil and natural gas.

■ phrases

▪ have no/little alternative (but to do something)

He had no alternative but to resign.

▪ leave somebody with no alternative (but to do something)

I was left with no alternative but to seek legal advice.

• • •


▪ choice : choice of :

The school seems OK, but there isn’t a great choice of courses.

| have a choice (=be able to choose from several things) :

With her high grades and athletic skill, Celeste had her choice of colleges.

| have no choice but to do something (=to be forced to do something because there is nothing else you can choose) :

Spooner says he had no choice but to file for bankruptcy.

| wide choice (=a lot of things to choose from) :

There is a wide choice of hotels and hostels in the town.

▪ option one of the things that you can choose to do in a particular situation:

He basically has two options: he can have the surgery, or he can give up playing football.

| keep/leave your options open (=delay choosing so that you continue to have several things to choose from) :

I haven’t signed any contracts yet – I want to keep my options open.

▪ alternative one of two or more ways of doing something:

Did you consider other alternatives before you moved in with Lucy?

| alternative to :

There is no practical alternative to our current policy.

| have no alternative (=to not have a choice) :

He says he doesn’t want to see a doctor, but I’m afraid he has no alternative.

Longman Dictionary of Contemporary English.      Longman - Словарь современного английского языка.