- Otherwise is defined as in other circumstances, other ways or other respects, or can mean "or else."
- If a person is normally nice but is rude only on one particular occasion, this is an example of when you might say he is otherwise very nice except for that occasion.
- If a dog has all brown fur but one white paw, this is an example of when you might say that he is an otherwise brown dog.
- If you are known as Joe but also known as Joseph, this is an example of when you might introduce yourself as Joe, otherwise known as Joseph.
- If the only reason you do not eat nuts is because you are allergic, this is an example of when you might say that you are allergic, otherwise you'd eat them.
- in another manner; differently: to believe otherwise
- in all other points or respects: an otherwise intelligent person
- in other circumstances
- if not: used as a conjunctive adverb: do it right; otherwise, you'll have to do it over
Origin of otherwiseMiddle English othre wise ; from Old English on othre wisan: see wise
in another condition; different: the answer could not be otherwise
- In another way; differently: She thought otherwise.
- Under other circumstances: Otherwise I might have helped.
- In other respects: an otherwise logical mind.
- Used to indicate a category to which the preceding adverb does not apply: All the students, dressed suitably and otherwise, went on the field trip.
- Or else.
If not; or else.
Other than supposed; different: The evidence is otherwise.
Origin of otherwiseMiddle English, from Old English (on) ōthere wīsan, (in) another manner : ōthre, dative of ōther, other + wīsan, dative of wīse, manner; see wise2. Usage Note: When used to connect two related clauses, otherwise is usually classified as a conjunctive adverb, which by grammatical tradition should be preceded either by a semicolon or by a period. But because otherwise often means “or else” in these contexts, and or else behaves as a subordinating conjunction, otherwise is often treated as a conjunction and is preceded by a comma, sometimes even in publications that predominantly treat it as a conjunctive adverb. This usage tends to be more common in narrative and dialogue: “Mr. Radish is flabby, slope-shouldered, otherwise he'd be tall as Ira Early. But lacking what you'd call dignity, stature” (Joyce Carol Oates). Copyeditors tend to prefer the more traditional punctuation using the preceding semicolon or period. The Usage Panel supports this practice without roundly condemning the alternative. In our 2006 survey, some 51 percent rejected a sentence in which otherwise is preceded by a comma (The store must be open, otherwise there wouldn't be anyone inside). But 70 percent said that this sentence would be acceptable if a semicolon was used. • When introducing a new clause, otherwise is often followed by a comma: “On Thanksgiving, the staff got an hour for dinner; otherwise, the schedule was the same” (Janet Reitman).2011 A preceding comma is required when otherwise is used to introduce a contrasting phrase and means “in another manner:” The student has symptoms of pertussis, otherwise known as whooping cough.
- (manner) Differently, in another way.
- You may have a point, but I think otherwise.
- (conjunctive) In different circumstances; or else.
- I’m not well today, otherwise I would have helped. You have to open your umbrella, otherwise you'll get wet.
- (conjunctive) In all other respects.
- He lost his temper once in a while. Otherwise he behaved rationally.
- "Otherwise" is often used to refer to the negative of something. The something may be a noun phrase, a verb phrase, an adjective phrase, or an adverb phrase, or a clause, or even something larger.
- Other than supposed; different.
- He said he didn’t do it, but the evidence was otherwise.