When you're facing a fork in the road, you have two possibilities, or alternatives. You could take the left fork and see where it leads, or you could choose the path that goes to the right.

Whenever there is an alternative, it involves a choice. A wealthy student has the choice of going to a public school, or the alternative, a private school. Alternative can also refer to a different way of doing things, outside the norm. You might say that a hermit who lives in remote a cave with a pet turtle is living an alternative lifestyle.

Definitions of alternative

n one of a number of things from which only one can be chosen

“there no other alternative
choice, option
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the more conspicuous of two alternatives or cases or sides
druthers, preference
the right or chance to choose
default, default option
an option that is selected automatically unless an alternative is specified
opening, possibility, possible action
a possible alternative
impossibility, impossible action
an alternative that is not available
Hobson's choice
the choice of taking what is offered or nothing at all
soft option
an easier alternative
the particular preference that you have
something that can be done
something that cannot be done
Type of:
deciding, decision making
the cognitive process of reaching a decision

adj necessitating a choice between mutually exclusive possibilities

alternative possibilities were neutrality or war”
serving or tending to divide or separate

adj serving or used in place of another

“an alternative plan”
alternate, substitute
being of second rank or importance or value; not direct or immediate

adj pertaining to unconventional choices

“an alternative life style”
not conventional or conformist

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