Definition of alternate verb from the Oxford Advanced Learner's Dictionary

      

    alternate

     verb
    verb
    BrE BrE//ˈɔːltəneɪt//
     
    ; NAmE NAmE//ˈɔːltərneɪt//
     
    Verb Forms present simple I / you / we / they alternate
    BrE BrE//ˈɔːltəneɪt//
     
    ; NAmE NAmE//ˈɔːltərneɪt//
     
    he / she / it alternates
    BrE BrE//ˈɔːltəneɪts//
     
    ; NAmE NAmE//ˈɔːltərneɪts//
     
    past simple alternated
    BrE BrE//ˈɔːltəneɪtɪd//
     
    ; NAmE NAmE//ˈɔːltərneɪtɪd//
     
    past participle alternated
    BrE BrE//ˈɔːltəneɪtɪd//
     
    ; NAmE NAmE//ˈɔːltərneɪtɪd//
     
    -ing form alternating
    BrE BrE//ˈɔːltəneɪtɪŋ//
     
    ; NAmE NAmE//ˈɔːltərneɪtɪŋ//
     
     
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  1. 1[transitive] to make things or people follow one after the other in a repeated pattern alternate A and B Alternate cubes of meat and slices of red pepper. alternate A with B Alternate cubes of meat with slices of red pepper. Her music alternates moments of sudden quiet with moments of dramatic intensity.
  2. 2[intransitive] (of things or people) to follow one after the other in a repeated pattern alternating dark and pale stripes alternate with something Dark stripes alternate with pale ones.
  3. 3[intransitive] alternate between A and B to keep changing from one thing to another and back again Her mood alternated between happiness and despair. They believed that the earth’s climate alternated between periods of extreme cold and warm.
  4. Word Origin early 16th cent.: from Latin alternat- ‘done by turns’, from alternare, from alternus ‘every other’, from alter ‘other’.
See the Oxford Advanced American Dictionary entry: alternate