Definitions

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

  • n. Successive change from one thing or state to another and back again.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. The reciprocal succession of (normally two) things in time or place; the act of following and being followed by turns; alternate succession, performance, or occurrence; as, the alternation of day and night, cold and heat, summer and winter, hope and fear.
  • n. The response of the congregation speaking alternately with the minister.
  • n. ablaut
  • n. The "inclusive or" truth function.
  • n. A sequence that alternates between positive and negative values. (Sometimes wrongly used to mean a permutation.)

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. The reciprocal succession of things in time or place; the act of following and being followed by turns; alternate succession, performance, or occurrence.
  • n. Permutation.
  • n. The response of the congregation speaking alternately with the minister.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • n. The act of alternating, or the state of being alternate; the reciprocal succession of things in time or place, or of states or actions; the act of following something and being in turn followed by it: as, the alternation of day and night, cold and heat, summer and winter.
  • n. Passage back and forth; repeated transition; the action of going from one state, condition, or point to another, and back again, indefinitely: as, alternation between states of mind or between places; his alternations from one point to the other were very frequent.
  • n. In mathematics: The different changes or alterations of order in numbers. More commonly called permutation.
  • n. Alternate proportion (which see, under alternate, a.).
  • n. 4. In church ritual, the saying or reading of parts of a service by minister and congregation alternately.
  • n. In phytogeography, the discontinuous occurrence of a plant type due to local variations in the conditions. See the extract.
  • n. In electricity, the time of one reversal, or one half-wave of alternating current. One alternation therefore is one half-cycle. The frequency of an alternating current formerly was given in alternations per minute. See alternating.

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

  • n. successive change from one thing or state to another and back again

Etymologies

Latin alternatio; compare with French alternation. (Wiktionary)

Examples

  • A NI posting has been, in recent years, a doddle for most squaddies, especially when the alternative, the alternation is a spell in Basra or Helmand.

    Pathetic army excuse about base security does nothing to answer the questions

  • The tract is direct psalmody — the singing of successive verses of a psalm without refrain, and it is sung in alternation by two halves of the choir.

    What We Learn from Music

  • Credit Suisse had said it expected around 200-300 orders to be announced this year at Farnborough, held every other year in alternation with the Paris show.

    Green issues take center stage at Farnborough Airshow

  • Sunday the Mass is concelebrated by a Protestant and a Catholic, with one presiding over the liturgy of the Word and the sermon, and the other over the liturgy of the Eucharist, in alternation.

    Food and Drink

  • When the ruling elite accept the idea of alternation of power on principle, it will be a whole lot easier to adjust the relationship between religion and state!

    Meedan: Brotherhood slogan under fire as Egypt takes to the polls

  • Place P.P. at the coccyx or on the upper dorsal vertebra, or on both in alternation, which is better, and treat over the kidneys with N.P. five to eight minutes, once a day for three or four days.

    A Newly Discovered System of Electrical Medication

  • An alternation, which is not invalidated by exceptions here and there, has been observed in the criminality of different countries, in the periodic movement of crimes and offences against property and those against the person, of such a kind that years of increase in the former usually answer to a diminution in the latter, and vice versâ.

    Criminal Sociology

  • The source of the alternation is the generator in which the voltage (and following it naturally the current) are induced in stationary coils by a rotating magnetic field.

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  • a beginning or an end, we may say, employing an expression which seems somewhat paradoxical: "Only the permanent (substance) is subject to change; the mutable suffers no change, but rather alternation, that is, when certain determinations cease, others begin."

    The Critique of Pure Reason

  • A more extensive use of this "alternation" could be employed to indicate marked changes of place.

    The Facts About Shakespeare

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