There is a freezer section at my local grocery labeled "Meatless Alternatives" (pictured below). Strictly construing this means this section should contain alternatives to meatless foods, i.e., meat. This section stocks veggie burgers and vegan choices.

Shouldn't the section sign more accurately read "Meatless", "Meatless Options", or "Meat Alternatives?"

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  • 2
    Compounds are funny: meat alternatives- alternatives of meat (like sunrise, rise of sun); meatless alternatives- alternatives that are meatless (like blackboard, board that is black). Both make sense if you know the context. They probably went with meatless because it's less confusing to vegetarians, IMO.
    – Tushar Raj
    Jan 24, 2017 at 7:09

1 Answer 1


It's meatless alternatives, i.e. alternatives to meat food and they don't contain any meat. I think this is quite correct phrase.

  • If the meaning is "alternatives to meat" then the sign should read "meat alternatives." The current sign is practically a double negative.
    – cfx
    Jan 24, 2017 at 12:32

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