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or else!

INFORMAL
This page is about the conversational phrase or else!

Meaning

If you add "or else!" to a command or a demand, it becomes an implied threat.

For example

  • "Tell us what we want to know, or else!"

  • "Get the money by tomorrow, or else! You understand?"

Note:
When used in this way, "or else!" creates a threat without stating what the threat actually is. By contrast, a stated threat is "Get the money by tomorrow, or else I'll kill you!"

Quick Quiz

If a thief says "Give me your money, or else!", he's

a. threatening to call the police

b. threatening to let you go

c. threatening to hurt you

Contributor: Matt Errey