The Alternative English Dictionary: alpha

Android app on Google Play

Entry definition

alpha {{letter_disp2}} etymology From the Ancient Greek ἄλφα 〈álpha〉, the first letter of the Greek alphabet, from the Phoenician aleph. pronunciation
  • /ˈæɫfə/
  • {{audio}}
noun: {{en-noun}}
  1. The name of the first letter of the Greek alphabet (Α,  α), followed by beta. In the Latin alphabet it is the predecessor to A.
  2. Latin alpha
  3. (science) The name of the symbols Α and α used in science and mathematics, often interchangeable with the symbols when used as a prefix. I will attempt to make an alpha particle ("α-particle") with the large hadron collider.
  4. (finance) The return of a given asset or portfolio adjusted for systematic risk.
  5. An alpha male.
    • 2008, Faye Flam, The Score: How the Quest for Sex Has Shaped the Modern Man, Avery (2008), ISBN 9781436225786, unnumbered page: Being a beta male in a species with alphas doesn't mean you have to sit out the mating game.
    • 2008, The New Black Lace Book of Women's Sexual Fantasies (ed. Mitzi Szereto), Black Lace (2008), ISBN 9780352341723, page 38: I'm still turned on by alpha males. I think there are only a couple of other men that turn me on . . . ones that are clearly not alphas.
    • 2009, Martin G. Groder & Pat Webster, Winning at Love: The Alpha Male's Guide to Relationship Success, Bascom Hill Books (2009), ISBN 9781935456049, page ix: This book is primarily for alpha males, or “top dogs.” We'll talk more about that later; but let's just say that if you are a man and successful in the world of trade, business, or profession, most likely you are an alpha, or you have been trained to act like an alpha.
  6. (informal, abbreviation) Alphabet.
  7. (computer graphics) The level of translucency of a color, as determined by the alpha channel.
adjective: {{en-adj}}
  1. Designates the first in an order of precedence. I am the alpha male.
  2. (person, object or action) associated with the alpha male/female archetype.
  3. (star) Designates the brightest star in a constellation. When space travel becomes feasible, I plan to visit Alpha Centauri.
related terms:
  • alphabet
  • alphabet soup
  • alphabetical
  • alphabetical order
  • alphanumeric

All Languages

Languages and entry counts