1. That which alternates with something else; vicissitude.
  2. A substitute; an alternative; one designated to take the place of another, if necessary, in performing some duty.
  3. A proportion derived from another proportion by interchanging the means.
  4. A replacement of equal or greater value or function.
  5. Figures or tinctures that succeed each other by turns.


  1. To perform by turns, or in succession; to cause to succeed by turns; to interchange regularly.
  2. To happen, succeed, or act by turns; to follow reciprocally in place or time; followed by with.
    The flood and ebb tides alternate with each other.
  3. To vary by turns.
    ''The land alternates between rocky hills and sandy plains.


  1. Being or succeeding by turns; one following the other in succession of time or place; by turns first one and then the other; hence, reciprocal.
    And bid alternate passions fall and rise. -
  2. Designating the members in a series, which regularly intervene between the members of another series, as the odd or even numbers of the numerals; every other; every second.
    the alternate members 1, 3, 5, 7, etc.
  3. Other; alternative.
    Hyperlinked text is displayed in alternate colour in a Web browser.
  4. Distributed, as leaves, singly at different heights of the stem, and at equal intervals as respects angular divergence.

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