al·ter·na·tive /ɔlˈtɜrnətɪv, æl-/ Show Spelled
[awl-tur-nuh-tiv, al-] Show IPA
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.
4. affording a choice of two or more things, propositions, or courses of action.
5. (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.
6. employing or following nontraditional or unconventional ideas, methods, etc.; existing outside the establishment: an alternative newspaper; alternative lifestyles.
7. Logic . (of a proposition) asserting two or more choices, at least one of which is true.
[ad. L. alternãti-us pa. pple. of alternã-re to do one thing after the other; f. altern-us ever the other, every second; f. alter the other of two, the second.]
[ad. med.L. alternãtîvus, f. L. alternãt- ppl. stem of alternãre: see ALTERNATE a. and -IVE.]
[a. 14th c. Fr. altére-r (Pr. or It. alterar) ad. med.L. alter-re, f. alter other.]
[< post-classical Latin nativus a person born in bondage (frequently in British sources from the late 12th cent.), a person born in a specified place (late 14th cent. in a British source), use as noun of classical Latin ntvus NATIVE adj. In later use sometimes directly from the Latin adjective. Compare Middle French, French natif (mid 16th cent.), Italian nativo (16th cent.), both in sense 3a.]
[< Middle French, French natif belonging to the origin of an object (late 14th cent.), born in a particular place (early 15th cent.), (of metal) occurring naturally (1762; early 12th cent. in Old French (in a Franco-Occitan context) in form natiz in sense ‘originating (from a place)’) and its etymon classical Latin ntvus having a birth or origin (see note), innate, natural, naturally occurring, (of words) used with their natural meaning, in post-classical Latin also born in a particular place (9th cent.; late 12th cent. in a British source), that is the place of a person's birth (from the second half of the 11th cent. in British sources), holding a certain position by right of birth (late 11th cent. in a British source), born in bondage, and spoken in a person's place of birth (both from 12th cent. in British sources), < nt-, past participial stem of nsc to be born (see NASCENT adj.) + -vus -IVE suffix. Compare NAIVE adj.
Compare Old Occitan, Occitan nadiu (c1200; also in Occitan as natiu), Spanish nativo (1424), Italian nativo (1532; early 14th cent. as natio), Portuguese nativo (16th cent.), Catalan natiu (1805; 1120 as nadiu).
In sense 8 after classical Latin ntvus in Cicero De Natura Deorum 1. 10. 25.]
1580s, "offering one or the other of two," from M.L. alternativus, from L. alternatus, pp. of alternare (see alternate). Sense of "the other of two which may be chosen" is recorded from 1838. Adj. use, "purporting to be a superior choice to what is in general use" was current by 1970 (earliest ref. is to the media); e.g. alternative energy (1975).
< Medieval Latin alternativus < Latin alternare (“to do by turns”), past participle alternatus; see alternate.
Alternative culture is a type of culture that exists outside or on the fringes of mainstream or popular culture, usually under the domain of one or more subcultures. These subcultures may have little or nothing in common besides their relative obscurity, but cultural studies uses this common basis of obscurity to classify them as alternative cultures, or, taken as a whole, the alternative culture. Compare with the more politically charged term, counterculture.