[ els ]
See synonyms for else on Thesaurus.com
  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?

  1. 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?

  1. at some other place or time: Where else might I find this book?

Idioms about else

  1. or else, or suffer the consequences: Do what I say, or else.

Origin of else

before 1000; Middle English, Old English elles (cognate with Old High German elles), equivalent to ell- other (cognate with Gothic aljis,Latin alius,Old Irish aileGreek állos, Armenian ayl other; cf. eldritch) + -es -s1

Grammar notes for else

The possessive forms of somebody else, everybody else, etc., are somebody else's, everybody else's, the forms somebody's else, everybody's else being considered nonstandard in present-day English. One exception is the possessive for who else, which is occasionally formed as whose else when a noun does not immediately follow: Is this book yours? Whose else could it be? No, it's somebody else's.

Words Nearby else

Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023

How to use else in a sentence

British Dictionary definitions for else


/ (ɛls) /

determiner(postpositive; used after an indefinite pronoun or an interrogative)
  1. in addition; more: there is nobody else here

  2. other; different: where else could he be?

  1. or else

    • if not, then: go away or else I won't finish my work today

    • or something terrible will result: used as a threat: sit down, or else!

Origin of else

Old English elles, genitive of el- strange, foreign; related to Old High German eli- other, Gothic alja, Latin alius, Greek allos

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012

Other Idioms and Phrases with else


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

The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.