1. other than the persons or things mentioned or implied: What else could I have done?
  2. in addition to the persons or things mentioned or implied: Who else was there?
  3. other or in addition (used in the possessive following an indefinite pronoun): someone else’s money.


  1. if not (usually preceded by or): It’s a macaw, or else I don’t know birds.
  2. in some other way; otherwise: How else could I have acted?
  3. at some other place or time: Where else might I find this book?
  1. or else, or suffer the consequences: Do what I say, or else.

determiner (postpositive; used after an indefinite pronoun or an interrogative)

  1. in addition; morethere is nobody else here
  2. other; differentwhere else could he be?


  1. or else
    1. if not, thengo away or else I won’t finish my work today
    2. or something terrible will result: used as a threatsit down, or else!

Old English elles “other, otherwise, different,” from Proto-Germanic *aljaz (cf. Gothic aljis “other,” Old High German eli-lenti, Old English el-lende, both meaning “in a foreign land;” see also Alsace), an adverbial genitive of the neuter of PIE root *al- “beyond” (cf. Greek allos “other,” Latin alius; see alias). Synonym of other, the nuances of usage are often arbitrary.

Productive of a number of handy compounds that somehow never got traction or have been suffered to fall from use: elsehow (1660s) “somehow or other;” elsewards (adv.), 1882, “somewhere else;” Old English elsewhat (pron.) ” something else, anything else;” elsewhen (adv.), early 15c., “at another time; elsewhence (c.1600); elsewho (1540s). Among the survivors are elsewhere, elsewise.

see in someone’s (else’s) shoes; or else; something else; something else again.

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