Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition.

  • adjective Other; different.
  • adjective Additional; more.
  • adverb In a different or additional time, place, or manner.
  • idiom (or else) Used to indicate an alternative.
  • idiom (or else) Used to indicate negative consequences that will result if an action is not followed.
  • idiom (or else) Used after a command or demand to make a threat:

from The Century Dictionary.

  • In another or a different manner; in some other way; to a different purpose; otherwise.
  • In another or a different case; if the fact were different; otherwise.
  • Besides; other than the person, thing, place, etc., mentioned: after an interrogative or indefinite pronoun, pronominal adjective, or adverb (who, what, where, etc., anybody, anything, somebody, something, nobody, nothing, all, little, etc.), as a quasi-adjective, equivalent to other: as, who else is coming? what else shall give you? do you expect anything else?
  • [The phrases anybody else, somebody else, nobody else, etc., have a unitary meaning, as if one word, and properly take a possessive case (with the suffix at the end of the phrase): as, this is somebody else's hat; nobody else's children act so.]

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English.

  • adjective Other; one or something beside
  • adverb Besides; except that mentioned; in addition
  • adverb Otherwise; in the other, or the contrary, case; if the facts were different.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License.

  • adjective Other; in addition to previously mentioned items.
  • adverb Otherwise, if not.
  • conjunction For otherwise; or else.
  • conjunction computing but if the condition of the previous if clause is false, do the following.

Etymologies

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

[Middle English elles, from Old English; see al- in Indo-European roots.]

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

From Middle English, from Old English elles ("other, otherwise, different"), from Proto-Germanic *aljas (“of another, of something else”), genitive of *aljaz (“other”), from Proto-Indo-European *h₂elios, *al- (“other”, pronoun). Cognate with Old Frisian elles ("other"), Old High German elles, ellies ("other"), Danish eller ("or"), Danish ellers ("otherwise"), Swedish eljes, eljest ("or else, otherwise"), Norwegian elles ("else, otherwise"), Gothic 𐌰𐌻𐌾𐌹𐍃 (aljis, "other"), Latin alius ("other, another"), Ancient Greek ἄλλος (állos), αἶλος (Arcadocypriot), (Modern Greek αλλιώς (alliṓs, "otherwise, else")).

Examples

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