Definition of “otherwise” - English Dictionary

“otherwise” in British English

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otherwiseconjunction

uk /ˈʌð.ə.waɪz/ us /ˈʌð.ɚ.waɪz/

B1 used after an order or suggestion to show what the result will be if you do not follow that order or suggestion:

I'd better write it down, otherwise I'll forget it.
Call home, otherwise your parents will start to worry.

More examples

  • Come in now, otherwise you'll get wet.
  • I'd better tell him about the letter, otherwise he might be angry.
  • You'd better hurry, otherwise you'll miss the train.
  • Take that chocolate away, otherwise I'll eat it all.
  • They had to leave early, otherwise the children would have been up too late.

otherwiseadverb

uk /ˈʌð.ə.waɪz/ us /ˈʌð.ɚ.waɪz/

otherwise adverb (DIFFERENTLY)

differently, or in another way:

The police believe he is the thief, but all the evidence suggests otherwise (= that he is not).
Under the Bill of Rights, a person is presumed innocent until proved otherwise (= guilty).
Protestors were executed, jailed or otherwise persecuted.
Marion Morrison, otherwise known as the film star John Wayne, was born in 1907.
formal I can't meet you on Tuesday - I'm otherwise engaged/occupied (= doing something else).

More examples

  • His phone call was a welcome intrusion into an otherwise tedious morning.
  • A tiny mark flawed the otherwise perfect silk shirt.
  • She was badly bruised but otherwise unhurt.
  • When referees make contentious decisions players are going to be upset, and anyone who thinks otherwise is living in cloud-cuckoo-land.
  • Dennis White scored the only goal in an otherwise forgettable match.

Idiom(s)

otherwiseadjective [ after verb ]

uk /ˈʌð.ə.waɪz/ us /ˈʌð.ɚ.waɪz/ formal

(Definition of “otherwise” from the Cambridge Advanced Learner's Dictionary & Thesaurus © Cambridge University Press)

“otherwise” in American English

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otherwiseadverb [ not gradable ]

us /ˈʌð·ərˌwɑɪz/

differently, or in another way:

Samuel Clemens, otherwise known as Mark Twain
Parts of the company will be sold or otherwise dismantled.

Otherwise also means except for what was just referred to:

I like working outside when it’s warm, but otherwise I stay indoors.

otherwiseconjunction

us /ˈʌð·ərˌwɑɪz/

if not; or else:

Tell me if you want it, otherwise I’ll give it to Freya.

(Definition of “otherwise” from the Cambridge Academic Content Dictionary © Cambridge University Press)