alternative ( alternatives plural )
The form alternate is sometimes used, especially in American English, instead of alternative in meanings 3, 4, and 5.
1 n-count If one thing is an alternativeto another, the first can be found, used, or done instead of the second.
oft N to n
New ways to treat arthritis may provide an alternative to painkillers.
2 adj An alternative plan or offer is different from the one that you already have, and can be done or used instead.
There were alternative methods of travel available...
3 adj Alternative is used to describe something that is different from the usual things of its kind, or the usual ways of doing something, in modern Western society. For example, an alternative lifestyle does not follow conventional ways of living and working.
ADJ n (Antonym: conventional)
...unconventional parents who embraced the alternative lifestyle of the Sixties...
4 adj Alternative medicine uses traditional ways of curing people, such as medicines made from plants, massage, and acupuncture.
...alternative health care.
5 adj Alternative energy uses natural sources of energy such as the sun, wind, or water for power and fuel, rather than oil, coal, or nuclear power.