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What are altcoins

Alternative + coin = altcoin.
The term altcoin can be used to refer to any cryptocurrency that isn’t Bitcoin. This is because these other coins were formed as "alternative coins" to Bitcoin.
As coins become more established, they may start to lose their status as an "altcoin". Ethereum is not always referred to as an altcoin because it is a fundamental part of crypto today.
But projects built on Ethereum would certainly be classified as altcoins.
Altcoins are created with different goals. Some are built to tackle issues in the finance industry, others may be tailored to disrupting various sectors or functions, like fashion or supply chain.
Some altcoins are created purely for fun. Garlicoin, for example, was created for no real purpose.