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From Middle High German sunst, sust, sus, from Old High German sus (thus), from Proto-West Germanic *sus, from *swā (so), formally related to Proto-West Germanic *þus (thus). Cognate with Hunsrik sunst, Old Saxon sus (Middle Low German süs),[1] archaic Dutch zonst (otherwise), Alemannic German sus and suscht.


  • IPA(key): /zɔnst/ (official standard)
  • IPA(key): /zɔns/ (generally before a consonant; colloquially also in pausa)
  • (file)



  1. otherwise (under different circumstances)
    Synonyms: andernfalls, ansonsten
    Beeil dich, sonst kommen wir zu spät.
    Hurry up, otherwise we'll be late.
  2. normally, usually (as opposed to a particular case)
    Synonyms: andernfalls, normalerweise
    Ich trinke sonst nicht so viel.
    I don't normally drink so much.
  3. (often with noch) else
    Synonyms: weiter, darüber hinaus
    Sonst noch etwas?
    Anything else?
    Was soll es sonst sein?
    What else would it be?
  4. (colloquial) so; then; consecutive, but directed against an explicit or implicit alternative
    Synonyms: also, dann
    Wenn wir jetzt losgehen, sind wir eh zu spät. Sonst lass uns morgen noch mal wiederkommen.
    If we go there now, we’ll be late anyway. So [let’s not do that but instead] let’s come back again tomorrow.
    Wir gehen grad in die Stadt. Also, wenn du Lust hast... sonst komm doch mit!
    We’re headed for the city. So, if you’re interested... [maybe you’re not, but if you are] then come along!

Derived terms[edit]


  1. ^ Friedrich Kluge (1883), “sonst”, in , John Francis Davis, transl., Etymological Dictionary of the German Language, published 1891

Further reading[edit]




  1. otherwise