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1 : alternate
2 : offering or expressing a choice [an contract] see also alternative pleading at pleading
3 : existing or functioning outside the established system
: different from the usual or conventional [ sentencing]
n 1 : a proposition or situation offering a choice between two or more things only one of which may be chosen
2 a : one of two or more things, courses, or propositions to be chosen
b : something which can be chosen instead
in the alternative
1 : for or as an alternative [asked for specific performance, or in the alternative, damages of $20,000] [a new trial may be asked for in the alternative]
2 : in such a way that offers a choice [relief in the alternative…may be demanded "Federal Rules of Civil Procedure Rule 8(a)"] [plead in the alternative]
Source: Merriam-Webster's Dictionary of Law ©1996. Merriam-Webster, Incorporated. Published under license with Merriam-Webster, Incorporated.