Al*ter"na*tive, n. [Cf. F. alternative, LL. alternativa.] 1. An offer of two things, one of which may be chosen, but not both; a choice between two things, so that if one is taken, the other must be left.

There is something else than the mere alternative of absolute destruction or unreformed existence.

2. Either of two things or propositions offered to one's choice. Thus when two things offer a choice of one only, the two things are called alternatives.

Having to choose between two alternatives, safety and war, you obstinately prefer the worse.
Jowett (Thucyd.).

3. The course of action or the thing offered in place of another.

If this demand is refused the alternative is war.

With no alternative but death.

4. A choice between more than two things; one of several things offered to choose among.

My decided preference is for the fourth and last of these alternatives.

Al*ter"na*tive (?), a. [Cf. F. alternatif.] 1. Offering a choice of two things.

2. Disjunctive; as, an alternative conjunction.

3. Alternate; reciprocal. [Obs.] Holland.