WordReference Random House Learner's Dictionary of American English © 2017
al•ter•na•tive /ɔlˈtɜrnətɪv, æl-/USA pronunciation   n. [countable]
  1. a choice limited to one option among two or more possibilities:You have the alternative of riding, walking, or biking.
  2. a choice among only two possibilities such that if one is chosen, the other cannot be chosen:Here are the alternatives: surrender or die.
  3. one of these choices:The alternative to riding is walking.

adj. [before a noun]
  1. allowing for a choice between two or more things:an alternative plan.
  2. being different from the usual:alternative lifestyles; alternative energy sources.
al•ter•na•tive•ly, adv. See -alte-.
    See choice.

WordReference Random House Unabridged Dictionary of American English © 2017
al•ter•na•tive  (ôl tûrnə tiv, al-),USA pronunciation n. 
  1. a choice limited to one of two or more possibilities, as of things, propositions, or courses of action, the selection of which precludes any other possibility:You have the alternative of riding or walking.
  2. one of the things, propositions, or courses of action that can be chosen:The alternative to riding is walking.
  3. a possible or remaining course or choice:There was no alternative but to walk.

  1. affording a choice of two or more things, propositions, or courses of action.
  2. (of two things, propositions, or courses) mutually exclusive so that if one is chosen the other must be rejected:The alternative possibilities are neutrality and war.
  3. employing or following nontraditional or unconventional ideas, methods, etc.;
    existing outside the establishment:an alternative newspaper; alternative lifestyles.
  4. Philosophy[Logic.](of a proposition) asserting two or more choices, at least one of which is true.
Also,  alternate (for defs. 1–4, 6). al•terna•tive•ly, adv. 
al•terna•tive•ness, al•ter′na•tivi•ty, n. 
  • alternate + -ive 1580–90
    • 1.See corresponding entry in Unabridged . option, selection. See  choice. 

Collins Concise English Dictionary © HarperCollins Publishers::

alternative /ɔːlˈtɜːnətɪv/ n
  1. a possibility of choice, esp between two things, courses of action, etc
  2. either of such choices: we took the alternative of walking
  1. presenting a choice, esp between two possibilities only
  2. (of two things) mutually exclusive
  3. denoting a lifestyle, culture, art form, etc, regarded by its adherents as preferable to that of contemporary society because it is less conventional, materialistic, or institutionalized, and, often, more in harmony with nature

alˈternatively adv alˈternativeness n

'alternative' also found in these entries:
Collocations: a [good, viable, reasonable] alternative (to), [this] could be a [good] alternative (to), are looking for a [good] alternative (to), more...

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