alternate +‎ -ly



alternately (not comparable)

  1. In reciprocal succession; succeeding by turns; in alternate order.
    • 1834, L[etitia] E[lizabeth] L[andon], Francesca Carrara. [], volume II, London: Richard Bentley, [], (successor to Henry Colburn), OCLC 630079698, page 102:
      All night Katerina and I watched alternately, though, I shame to say, I slept more than I watched; and, having first ascertained that there was no change, I came directly hither.
    • 1886, Peter Christen Asbjørnsen, H.L. Brækstad, transl., Folk and Fairy Tales, page 278:
      Tired with the heat and my walk, I threw myself down on the grass in the shadow of the house, where I lay half-asleep enjoying a quiet rest, when I was startled by an unpleasant clamour, the jarring voice of a woman, who was trying by alternately scolding and using pet names to pacify a litter of grunting pigs on the farm.
    • 1970, “The Butcher Who is Alternately Rude and Polite”, in Monty Python's Flying Circus, season 2, episode 5, spoken by Customer (Michael Palin):
      Well, I can't help noticing that you insult me and then you're polite to me alternately.
  2. (mathematics) By alternation; when, in a proportion, the antecedent term is compared with antecedent, and consequent.
  3. (chiefly Canada, US, sometimes proscribed) Alternatively.
    • 2008 July 18, Jennifer 8. Lee, “A ‘Women Only’ Restroom Renovation Tips the Balance at Grand Central”, in New York Times[1]:
      Downstairs, he was informed. That is, down the escalators, where there is both a women’s room (often with a line) and a men’s room (almost never with a line). Or alternately, he could ask the station master to buzz him into the “family” bathroom. He opted to go downstairs.


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