Meaning of ALTERNATIVE in English

I. ȯlˈtərnəd.iv, -tə̄n-, -təin-, -nətiv also al- adjective

Etymology: alternate (I) +-ive

1. : offering a choice of two or more things : offering for choice a second thing or proposition or other things or propositions

a means of transportation alternative to the railroad

several alternative plans

: expressing a choice or choices

alternative proposition

2. of a conjunction : indicating that the terms connected are to be taken not together but one in place of the other (as or in “for dessert you may have cake or pie”)

3. : alternate

• al·ter·na·tive·ly adverb

II. noun

( -s )


a. : a proposition or situation offering a choice between two things wherein if one thing is chosen the other is rejected

a government facing the alternative of high taxes or poor highways

b. : an opportunity or necessity for deciding between two courses or propositions either of which may be chosen but not both

the alternative of going by train or by plane


a. : either of two paired or contrasted things, courses, or propositions offered for one's choice in a situation in which taking either necessarily entails rejecting the other

that humanism is the alternative to religion — T.S.Eliot

b. : a counter case matched with one expressed or accepted and characterized by implicit or explicit unreality or implausibility

if the states had any power, it was assumed that they had all power and that the necessary alternative was to deny it altogether — O.W.Holmes †1935


a. : one of a number of things or courses offered for choice

a third alternative

certain customs in our culture are alternatives

specifically : one of the subsidiary statements preceded or followed by or in an alternation : alternant

b. : a choice or an opportunity or necessity for choice among three or more things

Synonyms: see choice

III. adjective

1. : existing or functioning outside the established cultural, social, or economic system

alternative newspaper

whose kids went to the same alternative nursery school — Cyra McFadden

also : different from the usual or conventional

alternative fuels

2. : of, relating to, or being rock music that is regarded as an alternative to established rock, is typically influenced by hard rock and punk and sometimes by hip-hop and pop, and is commonly associated with younger audiences and their culture

alternative music

the alternative market

IV. noun

: alternative rock music

Webster's New International English Dictionary.      Новый международный словарь английского языка Webster.