- other than the persons or things mentioned or implied: What else could I have done?
- in addition to the persons or things mentioned or implied: Who else was there?
- other or in addition (used in the possessive following an indefinite pronoun): someone else's money.
- if not (usually preceded by or): It's a macaw, or else I don't know birds.
- in some other way; otherwise: How else could I have acted?
- at some other place or time: Where else might I find this book?
- or else, or suffer the consequences: Do what I say, or else.
Origin of else
- in addition; morethere is nobody else here
- other; differentwhere else could he be?
- or else
- 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 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
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]
see in someone's (else's) shoes; or else; something else; something else again.