Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • intransitive v. To occur in a successive manner: day alternating with night.
  • intransitive v. To act or proceed by turns: The students alternated at the computer.
  • intransitive v. To pass back and forth from one state, action, or place to another: alternated between happiness and depression.
  • intransitive v. Electricity To reverse direction at regular intervals in a circuit.
  • transitive v. To do or execute by turns.
  • transitive v. To cause to alternate: alternated light and dark squares to form a pattern.
  • adj. Happening or following in turns; succeeding each other continuously: alternate seasons of the year. See Usage Note at alternative.
  • adj. Designating or relating to every other one of a series: alternate lines.
  • adj. Serving or used in place of another; substitute: an alternate plan.
  • adj. Botany Arranged singly at each node, as leaves or buds on different sides of a stem.
  • adj. Botany Arranged regularly between other parts, as stamens between petals.
  • n. A person acting in the place of another; a substitute.
  • n. An alternative.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • adj. Being or succeeding by turns; one following the other in succession of time or place; by turns first one and then the other; hence, reciprocal.
  • adj. Designating the members in a series, which regularly intervene between the members of another series, as the odd or even numbers of the numerals; every other; every second.
  • adj. Other or alternative.
  • adj. Distributed, as leaves, singly at different heights of the stem, and at equal intervals as respects angular divergence. --Gray.
  • n. That which alternates with something else; vicissitude.
  • n. A substitute; an alternative; one designated to take the place of another, if necessary, in performing some duty.
  • n. A proportion derived from another proportion by interchanging the means.
  • n. A replacement of equal or greater value or function.
  • n. Figures or tinctures that succeed each other by turns.
  • v. To perform by turns, or in succession; to cause to succeed by turns; to interchange regularly.
  • v. To happen, succeed, or act by turns; to follow reciprocally in place or time;—followed by with.
  • v. To vary by turns.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • adj. Being or succeeding by turns; one following the other in succession of time or place; by turns first one and then the other; hence, reciprocal.
  • adj. Designating the members in a series, which regularly intervene between the members of another series, as the odd or even numbers of the numerals; every other; every second; ; read every alternate line.
  • adj. Distributed, as leaves, singly at different heights of the stem, and at equal intervals as respects angular divergence.
  • n. That which alternates with something else; vicissitude.
  • n. A substitute; one designated to take the place of another, if necessary, in performing some duty.
  • n. A proportion derived from another proportion by interchanging the means.
  • transitive v. To perform by turns, or in succession; to cause to succeed by turns; to interchange regularly.
  • intransitive v. To happen, succeed, or act by turns; to follow reciprocally in place or time; -- followed by with.
  • intransitive v. To vary by turns.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • To do or perform by turns, or in succession.
  • To cause to succeed or follow one another in time or place reciprocally; interchange reciprocally.
  • To follow one another in time or place reciprocally: generally followed by with: as, the flood and ebb tides alternate one with the other.
  • To pass from one state, action, or place to a second, back to the first, and so on indefinitely: used with between, and sometimes with from: as, he alternates between hope and despair, or from one extreme to another; the country alternates between woods and open fields.
  • Being by turns; following each the other, recurringly, in succession of time or place; hence, reciprocal.
  • Specifically, in botany: Placed at unequal heights upon the axis: as, alternate leaves, which are solitary at the nodes, in distinction from opposite or verticillate.
  • Opposite to the intervals between organs: as, petals which are alternate with sepals, or stamens with petals.
  • Belonging to a series between the two members of every pair in which a member of another series intervenes; having one intervening between the two of each pair; every second: as, to read only the alternate lines; the odd numbers form one series of alternate numerals, the even numbers another.
  • Consisting of alternating parts or members; proceeding by alternation: as, an alternate series; alternate riming; alternate proportion.
  • In cryptogamic bot, the passage of a plant through a succession of unlike generations before the initial form is reproduced. Usually the succession is one in which one sexually produced form alternates with another produced asexually. The alternation of those sexually produced may be with those parthenogenetically produced (heterogenesis or heterogamy, which see), or with those produced by budding (metagenesis).
  • n. That which happens by turns with something else; vicissitude.
  • n. In political conventions and some other representative bodies, one authorized to take the place of another in his absence; a substitute.
  • In elect, same as alternating.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • v. exchange people temporarily to fulfill certain jobs and functions
  • n. someone who takes the place of another person
  • v. be an understudy or alternate for a role
  • adj. every second one of a series
  • v. reverse (a direction, attitude, or course of action)
  • adj. of leaves and branches etc; first on one side and then on the other in two ranks along an axis; not paired
  • v. do something in turns
  • adj. occurring by turns; first one and then the other
  • adj. serving or used in place of another
  • v. go back and forth; swing back and forth between two states or conditions

Etymologies

Latin alternāre, alternāt-, from alternus, by turns, from alter, other; see al-1 in Indo-European roots.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
From Latin alternō ("take turns"), alternus ("one after another, by turns"), from alter ("other"). See altern, alter. (Wiktionary)

Examples

  • Now, while we take the term alternate reality game in this context with a grain of salt, Xenophile does have a decent track record with their past projects for

    ARGNet: Alternate Reality Gaming Network

  • With help from the United Food and Commercial Workers International Union, current and former Wal-Mart workers and managers are planning what they call an alternate analysts' meeting near the company's Bentonville, Ark., headquarters on Tuesday, a day before the retailer holds its annual Wall Street briefing.

    Union Group to Pitch Analysts on Wal-Mart Problems

  • He didn't refer to them as secret prisons and that the CIA would continue to have available to it what he called alternate techniques for interrogation, which he insisted had been legally reviewed, were lawful, were tough, he said, but safe and did not constitute torture.

    CNN Transcript Sep 6, 2006

  • The defense is going to be looking for what I call alternate lifestyle jurors, people who are a little looser.

    CNN Transcript Feb 1, 2005

  • I wonder what they call their alternate "free market" universe for banksters?

    Firedoglake

  • An equally good alternate is to take I-37 south to around Pleasanton and and catch 281 straight through McAllen to Hidalgo, where 281 turns east, following right along the river to Los Indios.

    Driving to Merida from California

  • By the early 1980’s, many writers who had grown up on Bulwark’s Silver Age books relied on those reprints to show readers the previous incarnations of characters as they used them in alternate universe cross-over stories.

    The Codex Continual » Bulwark Comics: The Silver Age

  • The undergraduate-level alternate is Kwame A. Firempong of Inglewood, Calif., a 2010 high school graduate of Windward School in Los Angeles.

    Pauletta and Denzel Washington Scholarships in Harlem «

  • Businesses can also use this opportunity to invest in alternate, perhaps more efficient, energy sources - which will help our economy in the long-run.

    Oil Econ Follow-up, Arnold Kling | EconLog | Library of Economics and Liberty

  • * Also in alternate-universe news: South Korean scientists claim to have cloned glowing dogs.

    Wednesday Is the Day I Historically Post Links « Gerry Canavan

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