Origin of else
British Dictionary definitions for or else
determiner (postpositive; used after an indefinite pronoun or an interrogative)
- if not, thengo away or else I won't finish my work today
- or something terrible will result: used as a threatsit down, or else!
Word Origin for else
Word Origin and History for 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.
Idioms and Phrases with or else (1 of 2)
Otherwise, in different circumstances, as in Present your case now, or else you won't have a chance. [c. 1300]
Regardless of any extenuating circumstances, no matter what, as in Be there on time or else! [Second half of 1800s]
Idioms and Phrases with or else (2 of 2)
see in someone's (else's) shoes; or else; something else; something else again.