From The Collaborative International Dictionary of English v.0.48 [gcide]:
1. To make otherwise; to change in some respect, either partially or wholly; to vary; to modify. "To alter the king's course." "To alter the condition of a man." "No power in Venice can alter a decree." --Shak.
Usage: Change is generic and the stronger term. It may express a loss of identity, or the substitution of one thing in place of another; alter commonly expresses a partial change, or a change in form or details without destroying identity.
From WordNet (r) 3.0 (2006) [wn]:
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