Definition of else in English:

Share this entry


Pronunciation: /ɛls/


1 [with indefinite pronoun or adverb] In addition; besides: anything else you need to know? what else is there to do? they will offer low prices but little else
More example sentences
  • Well what else can we do when a lot of good farming land continues to be covered up by houses.
  • Is there anything else we can do to tell people that their cars must be moved?
  • Still, when he got out of the car he said if I needed anything else just to phone.
2 [with indefinite pronoun or adverb] Different; instead: isn’t there anyone else you could ask? they took songs owned by someone else and used them without permission they moved on to somewhere else it’s fate, destiny, or whatever else you like to call it
More example sentences
  • He is in no different position from anyone else who obtains citizenship by false means.
  • If we're not genuinely trying to live out our faith, how are we different from anyone else?
  • Subsequently, we made the decision to move from the town and settle somewhere else.
3 short for or else. keep your mouth shut, else you might contradict my story


or else

Used to introduce the second of two alternatives: he always had a cold or else was getting over an earache
More example sentences
  • So this makes it very difficult to combat, either through eradication or interdiction or else finding alternative livelihoods for Afghan farmers.
  • For on our paraphrase, if the second surface is flatter than the first, then either the second surface is flat while the first is not, or else the second is more nearly flat than the first, neither surface being flat.
  • Either the flush would come giving Harold the win, doubling his stack, and solidly ensconcing him in second place, or else he would be out of the tournament.
1.1In circumstances different from those mentioned: they can’t want it, or else they’d request it
More example sentences
  • He had been lucky that the branch missed his eyes, or else a very different scenario would be happening right now, Trip thought as Lee continued to fuss over him.
  • A small argument spread thin: men and women cannot be that different, or else women would not be saved.
  • It was a good thing she never mentioned about it, or else I would have been really hurt.
1.2Used as a warning or threat: you go along with this or else you’re going to jail she’d better shape up, or else
More example sentences
  • He demands that the UN back their decisions on Iraq with the threat of force, or else the US will overrule the UN charter and attack anyway.
  • He and I had the same class and to make my escape fast, I needed to bring him along or else I would seem even more suspicious.
  • A man's got to have a beer once in a while or else he'd go nuts without warning.


Old English elles, of Germanic origin; related to Middle Dutch els and Swedish eljest.

For editors and proofreaders

Line breaks: else

Share this entry

What do you find interesting about this word or phrase?

Comments that don't adhere to our Community Guidelines may be moderated or removed.