What does alter mean?

Definitions for alter
ˈɔl təral·ter

This dictionary definitions page includes all the possible meanings, example usage and translations of the word alter.

Princeton's WordNet

  1. change, alter, modifyverb

    cause to change; make different; cause a transformation

    "The advent of the automobile may have altered the growth pattern of the city"; "The discussion has changed my thinking about the issue"

  2. change, alter, varyverb

    become different in some particular way, without permanently losing one's or its former characteristics or essence

    "her mood changes in accordance with the weather"; "The supermarket's selection of vegetables varies according to the season"

  3. alterverb

    make an alteration to

    "This dress needs to be altered"

  4. interpolate, alter, falsifyverb

    insert words into texts, often falsifying it thereby

  5. alter, neuter, spay, castrateverb

    remove the ovaries of

    "Is your cat spayed?"


  1. alterverb

    To change the form or structure of.

  2. alterverb

    To become different.

  3. alterverb

    To tailor clothes to make them fit.

  4. alterverb

    To castrate, neuter or spay (a dog or other animal).

  5. Etymology: From alterer (French altérer), from alterare, from alter, from al- (seen in alius, alienus, etc.; see alias, alien, etc.) + compar. suffix -ter.

Samuel Johnson's Dictionary

  1. To ALTERverb

    Etymology: alterer, Fr. from alter, Lat.

    Do you note
    How much her grace is alter’d on the sudden?
    How long her face is drawn? how pale she looks,
    And of an earthly cold? William Shakespeare, Hen. VIII.

    Acts appropriated to the worship of God by his own appointment, must continue so, till himself hath otherwise declared: for who dares alter what God hath appointed? Edward Stillingfleet, Defence of Disc. on Romish Idolatry.

    For the way of writing plays in verse, I find it troublesome and slow; but I am no way altered from my opinion of it, at least with any reasons which have opposed it. Dryden.

  2. To ALTERverb

    To become otherwise than it was; as, the weather alters from bright to cloudy.


  1. alter

    To alter is to change or modify something, often in a significant manner. This change can be physical, such as altering a piece of clothing to fit better, or abstract, such as altering an opinion or a plan.

Webster Dictionary

  1. Alterverb

    to make otherwise; to change in some respect, either partially or wholly; to vary; to modify

  2. Alterverb

    to agitate; to affect mentally

  3. Alterverb

    to geld

  4. Alterverb

    to become, in some respects, different; to vary; to change; as, the weather alters almost daily; rocks or minerals alter by exposure


  1. Alter

    Alter is a 2002 album by Portland, Oregon band Floater. Strong self-destructive motifs and a desire to return to an earlier time period are present in many of Alter's songs.

Chambers 20th Century Dictionary

  1. Alter

    awl′tėr, v.t. to make different: to change: (U.S.) to castrate.—v.i. to become different: to vary.—ns. Alterabil′ity, Al′terableness.—adj. Al′terable, that may be altered.—adv. Al′terably.—adj. Al′terant, altering: having the power of producing changes.—n. Alterā′tion, change.—adj. Al′terative, having power to alter.—n. a medicine that makes a change in the vital functions.—n. Alter′ity (Coleridge), the state of being other or different. [L. alter, another—al (root of alius, other), and the old comp. suffix -ter = Eng. -ther.]

Editors Contribution

  1. alter

    To change the form or structure of.

    They did alter the dress for the wedding as the brides body shape changed.

    Submitted by MaryC on March 7, 2020  

Surnames Frequency by Census Records

  1. ALTER

    According to the U.S. Census Bureau, Alter is ranked #8597 in terms of the most common surnames in America.

    The Alter surname appeared 3,830 times in the 2010 census and if you were to sample 100,000 people in the United States, approximately 1 would have the surname Alter.

    94% or 3,603 total occurrences were White.
    2.1% or 81 total occurrences were of Hispanic origin.
    1.5% or 61 total occurrences were of two or more races.
    1.4% or 54 total occurrences were Asian.
    0.6% or 25 total occurrences were Black.
    0.1% or 6 total occurrences were American Indian or Alaskan Native.

Matched Categories

British National Corpus

  1. Spoken Corpus Frequency

    Rank popularity for the word 'alter' in Spoken Corpus Frequency: #4782

  2. Written Corpus Frequency

    Rank popularity for the word 'alter' in Written Corpus Frequency: #4077

  3. Verbs Frequency

    Rank popularity for the word 'alter' in Verbs Frequency: #457

Anagrams for alter »

  1. ratel

  2. taler

  3. later

  4. alert

  5. artel

  6. telar

How to pronounce alter?

How to say alter in sign language?


  1. Chaldean Numerology

    The numerical value of alter in Chaldean Numerology is: 6

  2. Pythagorean Numerology

    The numerical value of alter in Pythagorean Numerology is: 2

Examples of alter in a Sentence

  1. John Scherbenske of the DEA:

    The chemical companies are altering the compound ever so slightly to avoid our laws here in the United States. Once they alter that chemical, it is no longer a controlled substance.

  2. Tom Brady:

    I did n’t alter the ball in any way.

  3. The Door:

    The Door Christian Fellowship McAllen Church did not ask for, or receive, a license from the producers or creators of' Alexander Hamilton' to produce, stage, replicate or alter any part of' Hamilton' ; nor did we seek prior permission to alter Lin-Manuel Miranda's work by changing the music, the lyrics, deleting songs, and adding dialogue.

  4. Phyllis Battone:

    There are two ways of meeting difficulties. You alter the difficulities or you alter yourself to meet them.

  5. Oscar Wilde:

    Fashion is a form of ugliness so intolerable that we have to alter it every six months.

Popularity rank by frequency of use


Translations for alter

From our Multilingual Translation Dictionary

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"alter." Definitions.net. STANDS4 LLC, 2023. Web. 29 Nov. 2023. <https://www.definitions.net/definition/alter>.

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1 Comment
  • Priyanka Paul
    Priyanka Paul
    These explanations are great. Also, I like the way it has written in different languages using different accent. 
    LikeReply3 years ago

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an attendant who carries the golf clubs for a player
  • A. caddie
  • B. exacerbate
  • C. lucubrate
  • D. aberrate

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