Definition of or else in US English:

or else


  • 1Used to introduce the second of two alternatives.

    ‘she felt tempted either to shout at him or else to let his tantrums slide by’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Further, they contended, in the alternative, that the words were substantially true or else were fair comment on matters of fact.’
    • ‘Either that, or else it'll drive you batty in thirty seconds flat.’
    • ‘So this makes it very difficult to combat, either through eradication or interdiction or else finding alternative livelihoods for Afghan farmers.’
    • ‘So, a second lasts either for no time at all or else for an infinite amount of time.’
    • ‘Why is the second-rate part of a hero's corpus uncritically praised or else ignored to keep the hero's reputation unsullied.’
    • ‘She was almost emaciated-looking and her clothing looked as if it were either second-hand, or else really old.’
    • ‘You should be offered a suitable alternative job if it can't be made safe, or else be suspended on full pay.’
    • ‘If you want an affordable copy, your best bet is either to trawl the second hand bins and hope you get lucky, or else wait until the hoopla about Wanda has died down.’
    1. 1.1 In circumstances different from those mentioned; if it were not the case.
      ‘they can't want it, or else they'd request it’
      • ‘It was a good thing she never mentioned about it, or else I would have been really hurt.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Lucky for him, indeed, that they were specially tinted to look dark from the outside, but in fact made no difference to his vision, or else he'd have trouble seeing where he was going.’
      • ‘‘Most work makes a difference in someone's life in some way, or else the job wouldn't exist,’ Grant says.’
      • ‘I had heard tales of the need to immediately spend $15,000 to build your game once you were done developing it, or else no one would give it a second glance.’
      • ‘Everything they mentioned in the conversation had to have had some sort of impact on them or else they wouldn't have mentioned it.’
      • ‘And I try to play them slightly different every night, or else I would collapse in the second verse of ‘You Know So Well’ of boredom.’
      • ‘I was thankful that I had grabbed my backpack before I left for breakfast - or else we would be completely broke… not to mention unarmed.’
      or else, or, if not
      View synonyms
    2. 1.2 Used to warn what will happen if something is not carried out.
      ‘you go along with this or else you're going to jail’
      • ‘She couldn't stop, not for a second, or else they would get her.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘‘Do not mention this secret spot to anybody, or else I will have to kill you,’ Parker snapped.’
      • ‘I couldn't afford to be back a second late or else, Margaret would suspect where I was.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘A man's got to have a beer once in a while or else he'd go nuts without warning.’
      • ‘They continued to shout at us ‘get back to your country, or else we will be back.’’
      • ‘Due to China's one-child rule, they cannot keep this second child or else they will suffer severe financial and political penalties.’
      • ‘‘You better let her in - or else you'll be in deep trouble,’ they threatened.’
      • ‘You all had better hurry up or else the food'll be cold.’
    3. 1.3 Used as a warning or a threat.
      ‘she'd better shape up, or else’
      • ‘This advice itself carries a delicate aroma of threat: Vote for the BJP or else!’
      • ‘It was more of a warning laugh, a laugh that told you to stop or else.’
      • ‘She stood beside me with her hands on her hips and her eyes demanding that I tell her everything or else.’
      • ‘If the referee has made a blatant mistake, then the panel should have the power to criticise the referee openly and demand that their standards improve or else.’
      • ‘We'll let this disc go with a stern warning: Make sense next time, or else.’
      • ‘Finally, his mother came up and demanded him to open his door or else, young man.’
      • ‘It may want to go further and attempt to punish the alleged offender as a warning to other civil servants to stay in line or else.’
      • ‘Couched in this extraordinary advice from Chen's subordinates was a warning not to step on their toes, or else.’
      • ‘By catering to his every wish you have not disabused him of the notion that he is entitled to demand whatever he wants from you… or else.’
      • ‘TCI is at the forefront of a new breed of restless shareholders in Europe that are demanding that management create shareholder value, or else.’