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See more synonyms for otherwise on Thesaurus.com
  1. under other circumstances: Otherwise they may get broken.
  2. in another manner; differently: Under the circumstances, I can't believe otherwise.
  3. in other respects: an otherwise happy life.
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  1. or else; if not: Button up your overcoat, otherwise you'll catch cold.
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  1. other or different; of another nature or kind: We hoped his behavior would be otherwise.
  2. in other or different circumstances: An otherwise pleasure had become a grinding chore.
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Origin of otherwise

before 900; Middle English; Old English (on) ōthre wīsan (in) another manner. See other, -wise
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

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British Dictionary definitions for otherwise


sentence connector
  1. or else; if not, thengo home — otherwise your mother will worry
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  1. differentlyI wouldn't have thought otherwise
  2. in other respectsan otherwise hopeless situation
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  1. (predicative) of an unexpected nature; differentthe facts are otherwise
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  1. something different in outcomesuccess or otherwise
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Word Origin

C14: from Old English on ōthre wīsan in other manner


The expression otherwise than means in any other way than and should not be followed by an adjective: no-one taught by this method can be other than (not otherwise than) successful; you are not allowed to use the building otherwise than as a private dwelling
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

Word Origin and History for otherwise


contracted from Old English phrase on oðre wisan "in the other manner" (see other + wise (n.)), which in Middle English became oþre wise, and mid-14c. oþerwise. As an adjective from c.1400.

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper