From Middle English ells, elles, from Old English elles (“other, otherwise, different”), from Proto-West Germanic *alljas, from Proto-Germanic *aljas (“of another, of something else”), genitive of *aljaz (“other”), from Proto-Indo-European *h₂élyos, from *h₂el- (“other”).
Cognate with Old Frisian elles (“other”), Old High German elles, ellies (“other”), Danish eller (“or”), Danish ellers (“otherwise”), Swedish eljes, eljest (“or else, otherwise”), Norwegian elles (“else, otherwise”), Gothic 𐌰𐌻𐌾𐌹𐍃 (aljis, “other”), Latin alius (“other, another”), Ancient Greek ἄλλος (állos), Arcadocypriot αἶλος (aîlos), modern Greek αλλιώς (alliós, “otherwise, else”).
- (Received Pronunciation, US) IPA(key): /ɛls/
- (colloquial) IPA(key): /ɛlts/
Audio (US) (file)
- Rhymes: -ɛls
else (not comparable)
- (postpositive, used only with indefinite or interrogative pronouns) Other; in addition to previously mentioned items.
- The instructor is busy. Can anyone else help me?
- 1610–1611, William Shakespeare, “The Tempest”, in Mr. William Shakespeares Comedies, Histories, & Tragedies […] (First Folio), London: […] Isaac Iaggard, and Ed[ward] Blount, published 1623, OCLC 606515358, [Act I, scene ii]:
Thou hast done well, fine Ariel. Follow me;
Hark what thou else shalt do me.
- 2013, Keith T. Krawczynski, Daily Life in the Colonial City:
- As with most else in society, early Americans believed that health and healing were in God's hand.
- This adjective usually follows an indefinite or interrogative pronoun, as in the examples above. In other cases, the adjective other is typically used.
- anybody else
- anyone else
- anyplace else
- anything else
- anywhere else
- everybody else
- everyone else
- everything else
- everywhere else
else (not comparable)
- (usually follows interrogative adverbs) Otherwise, if not.
- How else (= in what other way) can it be done?
- I'm busy Friday; when else (= what other time) works for you?
- 1842 December – 1844 July, Charles Dickens, The Life and Adventures of Martin Chuzzlewit, London: Chapman and Hall, […], published 1844, OCLC 977517776:
- The crust of ice on the else rippling brook was so transparent, and so thin in texture, that the lively water might of its own free will have stopped—in Tom’s glad mind it had—to look upon the lovely morning.
- (otherwise): This word frequently follows interrogative adverbs, such as how, why, and when, as well as the derived however, whyever, and whenever.
- The translations below need to be checked and inserted above into the appropriate translation tables, removing any numbers. Numbers do not necessarily match those in definitions. See instructions at Wiktionary:Entry layout § Translations.
- For otherwise; or else.
- Then the Wronskian of f and g must be nonzero, else they could not be linearly independent.
- 1903 July, Jack London, “The Law of Club and Fang”, in The Call of the Wild, New York, N.Y.: The Macmillan Company; London: Macmillan & Co., OCLC 28228581, page 44:
- He had never seen dogs fight as these wolfish creatures fought, and his first experience taught him an unforgetable lesson. It is true, it was a vicarious experience, else he would not have lived to profit by it.
- plural of