Pronunciation key

( ôltẽr-nit )
( altẽr-nit )
for v.
( ôltẽr-nāt′ )
( altẽr-nāt′ )


Alternate leaves


[L. alternatus pp. of alternare to do by turns < alternus, one after the other < alter, other].

  1. occurence in turns; succession each other; one and then another.
  2. every other one, as in answering alternate questions.
  3. in botany, growing along the stem singly at various intervals: opposed to opposite. Placed at intervals betweeen other parts.
Alternate leaves
Alternate Leaves of Beech


  1. An individual selected to replace another if necessary, such as an alternate juror; substitute.
  2. in linquistics an allomorph. Abbreviated alt.

v.t. [ALTERNATED (-id), ALTERNATING], to do or use by turns. Make happen or arrange by turns.


  1. to act, happen, et cetera by turns; follow in succession: such as good times alternate with the bad.
  2. taking turns.
  3. regular exchange of place or position.
  4. in electronics, to reverse direction regularly and continually as in electrical current. That is, AC/DC, Alternating Current vs. Direct Current.
  5. to make, or be operated by such a current.

Syn. - intermittent.


  • Webster's New World Dictionary of the American Language (College Edition) ©1955
  • Firefly Encyclopedia of Trees, Edited by Steve Cafferty M.Sc. ©2005
  • Zoology Quest: Chart of Leaf Arrangement and Attachment
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