alternative Meaning in the Cambridge English Dictionary Cambridge dictionaries logo

Meaning of “alternative” in the English Dictionary

"alternative" in British English

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alternativeadjective

uk   /ɒlˈtɜː.nə.tɪv/  us   /ɑːlˈtɝː.nə.t̬ɪv/
B2 (US also alternate) An alternative ​plan or ​method is one that you can use if you do not ​want to use another one: The ​oppositionparties have so ​farfailed to set out an alternative ​strategy. An alternative ​venue for the ​concert is being ​sought.B2 Alternative things are ​considered to be ​unusual and often have a ​small but ​enthusiasticgroup of ​people who ​support them: alternative ​comedy

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alternativenoun [C]

uk   /ɒlˈtɜː.nə.tɪv/  us   /ɑːlˈtɝː.nə.t̬ɪv/
B2 something that is different from something ​else, ​especially from what is ​usual, and ​offering the ​possibility of ​choice: an alternative tocoffee There must be an alternative topeoplesleeping on the ​streets. I'm ​afraid I have no alternative but toask you to ​leave (= that is what I have to do).

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(Definition of alternative from the Cambridge Advanced Learner’s Dictionary & Thesaurus © Cambridge University Press)

"alternative" in American English

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alternativenoun [C]

 us   /ɔlˈtɜr·nə·t̬ɪv/
something that is different, esp. from what is ​usual; a ​choice: You can make it ​look good by ​comparing it to a ​crummy alternative. I have no alternative but to ​ask you to ​leave.

alternativeadjective [not gradable]

 us   /ɔlˈtɜr·nə·t̬ɪv/
offering a ​choice between two or more things: People ​stay because they don’t have alternative ​opportunities. Alternative ​medicine is a ​widerange of ​treatments for ​medicalconditions that ​people use ​instead of, or with, Western ​medicine.
(Definition of alternative from the Cambridge Academic Content Dictionary © Cambridge University Press)
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“alternative” in British English

“alternative” in American English

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