Verb alternate Definition and Examples



Definition as verb:


alternate (third-person singular simple present alternates, present participle alternating, simple past and past participle alternated)

  1. (transitive) To perform by turns, or in succession; to cause to succeed by turns; to interchange regularly.
  2. (intransitive) To happen, succeed, or act by turns; to follow reciprocally in place or time; followed by with.
  3. (intransitive) To vary by turns.
  4. (transitive, geometry) To perform an alternation (removal of alternate vertices) on (a polytope or tessellation); to remove vertices (from a face or edge) as part of an alternation.

More definition: interchange repeatedly and regularly with one another in time or place; rotate (usually followed by with), Day alternates with night. change back and forth between conditions, states, actions, etc., He alternates between hope and despair. take turns, My sister and I alternated in doing the dishes.

4.Electricity. to reverse direction or sign periodically.

5.Linguistics. to occur as a variant in alternation with another form. perform or do in succession or one after another, to alternate comedy acts; to alternate jogging and walking. interchange successively or regularly, to alternate hot and cold compresses.

8.being in a constant state of succession or rotation; interchanged repeatedly one for another, Winter and summer are alternate seasons.

9.reciprocal; mutual, alternate acts of kindness.

10.every second one of a series, Read only the alternate lines.1
1.constituting an alternative, The alternate route is more scenic.1

2.alternative (defs 4, 6). 1

3.Botany. placed singly at different heights on the axis, on each side in succession, or at definite angular distances from one another, as leaves. opposite to the intervals between other organs, petals alternate with sepals.

4.a person authorized to fill the position, exercise the duties, etc., of another who is temporarily absent; substitute. 1

5.Theater. either of two actors who take turns playing the same role. an understudy. 1


1. (often foll by with) to occur or cause to occur successively or by turns, day and night alternate

2. (intransitive) often foll by between. to swing repeatedly from one condition, action, etc, to another, he alternates between success and failure

3. (transitive) to interchange regularly or in succession

4. (intransitive) (of an electric current, voltage, etc) to reverse direction or sign at regular intervals, usually sinusoidally, the instantaneous value varying continuously

5. (theatre) (intransitive) often foll by for. to understudy another actor or actress adjective (ɔːlˈtɜːnɪt)

6. occurring by turns, alternate feelings of love and hate

7. every other or second one of a series, he came to work on alternate days

8. being a second or further choice; alternative, alternate director

9. (botany) (of leaves, flowers, etc) arranged singly at different heights on either side of the stem (of parts of a flower) arranged opposite the spaces between other parts Compare opposite (sense 4)noun (ˈɔːltənɪt; ɔːlˈtɜːnɪt)

10. (US & Canadian) a person who substitutes for another in his absence; stand-in Word OriginC16, from Latin alternāre to do one thing and then another, from alternus one after the other, from alter otherCollins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollinsPublishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012 Cite This Source
1510s, from Latin alternatus "one after the other," past participle of alternare "to do first one thing then the other; exchange parts," from alternus "one after the other, alternate, in turns, reciprocal," from alter "the other" (see alter). Alternate means "by turns;" alternative means "offering a choice." Both imply two kinds or things.
1590s, from Latin alternatus, past participle of alternare (see alternate (adj.)). Replaced Middle English alternen "to vary, alternate" (early 15c.). Related, Alternated; alternating.
1718, "that which alternates (with anything else)," from alternate (adj.). Meaning "a substitute" is first attested 184



If you come under attack, you'll need an alternate identity... something similar to witness protection.

The fever had taken her out of her mind and into the alternate reality of a dream.

Mrs. Lincoln seemed pleased to have a variety of music instead of straight country and western, partial as she was to good jazz—plus there were two laps to alternate when the patting on one slacked off.

Whatever sick game or alternate reality this is, I'm not playing anymore!

It admits of the loveliest combinations of timbre, and it can alternate them in considerable variety.

Green crops, such as turnips, clover and rye grass, began to be alternated with grain crops, whence the name alternate husbandry.

The neve, which generally consists of broad sheets of great beauty, is formed from the freshly fallen snow during a series of alternate thaws and frosts.

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