[awl-tur-nuh-tiv, al-]
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.
one of the things, propositions, or courses of action that can be chosen: The alternative to riding is walking.
a possible or remaining course or choice: There was no alternative but to walk.
affording a choice of two or more things, propositions, or courses of action.
(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.
employing or following nontraditional or unconventional ideas, methods, etc.; existing outside the establishment: an alternative newspaper; alternative lifestyles.
Logic. (of a proposition) asserting two or more choices, at least one of which is true.
Also, alternate (for defs 1–4, 6).

1580–90; alternate + -ive

alternatively, adverb
alternativeness, alternativity, noun
quasi-alternative, adjective
quasi-alternatively, adverb

alternate, alternative.

1. option, selection. See choice. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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World English Dictionary
alternative (ɔːlˈtɜːnətɪv)
1.  a possibility of choice, esp between two things, courses of action, etc
2.  either of such choices: we took the alternative of walking
3.  presenting a choice, esp between two possibilities only
4.  (of two things) mutually exclusive
5.  denoting a lifestyle, culture, art form, etc, regarded by its adherents as preferable to that of contemporary society because it is less conventional, materialistic, or institutionalized, and, often, more in harmony with nature
6.  logic another word for disjunctive

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition
2009 © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009
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Word Origin & History

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).
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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Example sentences
Alternatively, you could be a clinician with experience leading medical
  education in a related healthcare environment.
Alternatively, you may be able to rearrange your primary job's work schedule
  slightly to help balance grad work.
Alternatively, editors may type queries directly into the lines of text-perhaps
  bracketed in bold or with highlighting.
Alternatively, maybe the handwringing about lack of reading is really all for
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