44

Elsewhere is an amazing word, as you can refer to other places very easily. What about elsewhen? Does such an equivalent of elsewhere for time exist? For example:

"Fertility might have fallen among women born between 1940 and 1960, and remained unchanged elsewhen."

Would that be an example of an appropriate use of that word, if it were to exist? If not, is there an alternative, easier way to say elsewhen, so that its existence has been unnecessary?

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    "Is there an alternative, easier way to say that...?" Not that I can think of. "Would that be ... an appropriate use of that word, if it were to exist?" I'd say it would. – Tushar Raj Jan 26 '17 at 15:54
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    "At other times"... – sumelic Jan 26 '17 at 16:18
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    There are three dimensions of space but only one of time, so while elsewhere implies arbitrarily distinct spatial locations, with time there are only a few possible distinctions. "Before and since" would work in addition to "at other times" as previously mentioned. In that example "otherwise remained unchanged throughout history" might be a good option too. – retron Jan 26 '17 at 16:39
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    In any event, I like the word "elsewhen" and someone needs to start a campaign to get it back on the books :-) – Spratty Jan 26 '17 at 16:56
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    Who says elsewhen is not a proper word? I've certainly seen it used, e.g. in SF stories dealing with time travel. – jamesqf Jan 26 '17 at 20:53
67

Elsewhen did exist in English; the OED has several entries, the most recent from 1570, the earliest from 1418:

Or ellys whan quan hem lest to remeve þens.

There are also entries for elsehow, elsewhat, elsewhence, elsewhither, and elsewho, plus elsewards and elsewise, and like elsewhen, all are marked as obsolete. The location-related words seem to have survived the longest, with elsewhence and elsewhither persisting into the 19th century and regionally, and of course elsewhere remaining in common usage.

Why those words fell out of fashion is hard to say, of course. Perhaps English speakers had more use for words for other locations than for other times— in the same way, we have anywhere and everywhere, but anywhen and everywhen are at best non-standard. On the other hand, we also lost otherwhere, except in some dialects, perhaps those which still use otherwhat and othersome and otherward; the OED doesn't specify.

In the situation you propose, the only single word I would have applied is otherwise, a highly flexible word that simply means in some additional or different way— another time, another place, another manner. Or, you could always be explicit and say at other times or in other years or other than this period.

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    what does that quote say? – luchonacho Jan 26 '17 at 17:27
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    @luchonacho It is from a line in a will that stipulates that decedent's widow will be cared for with her parents at Hardington, but if her father does not wish to be there, or at some time wants to move elsewhere, they will be supported by rents out of the same. – choster Jan 26 '17 at 17:51
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    Your last paragraph suggests an answer to the implicit question in your penultimate paragraph; perhaps the non-location words fell out of fashion precisely because otherwise is so flexible, and context is usually sufficient to distinguish between various possible meanings. – Kyle Strand Jan 26 '17 at 21:49
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    @PierreArlaud: We do, it's spelled always – Ben Voigt Jan 27 '17 at 17:00
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    So ... "elsewhen" existed elsewhen? – RBarryYoung Jan 27 '17 at 23:05
27

There actually is, or perhaps better said was, such a word in the adverb othertimes. However, the OED says that othertimes is now obsolete. It was not uncommon in Early Modern English up through the 18th century, but its use declined during the first half of 19th century. It tends to oppose sometimes.

  • Democritus would sometimes say that the images and their circuitions were Gods, and othertimes this Nature, which disperseth these images, and then our knowledge and intelligence. (Essays of Michael Lord of Montaigne)

  • The first appearances were, a low state of health, depressed, exhausted, and sallow look — the eyes sunken, sometimes of glossy whiteness, othertimes icteric, with dark areolae around — nose pinched — mouth blanched — except where ... (Researches on Primary Pathology: And the Origin and Laws of Epidemics)

  • As often as the Devil appeared to the Mexicans, they made immediately an idol of the figure in which they bad seen him ; sometimes as a lion, othertimes as a dog, othertimes as a serpent ; and as the ambitious Devil took advantage of this ... (The Poetical Works of Robert Southey)

This adverb eventually came to be used as a noun serving as a prepositional object for in and at, and finally people gave up and wrote a space between the two words:

  • at other times
  • in other times

Which is where we stand today. People may well ask “why” something did or did not happen in language, but most such questions have no possible concrete answer.

The historical record shows many combinations with any, other, some, when, time, times that are now rarely seen. Combining the old ones with the extant ones, and disregarding hyphens, the list of such adverbs is very long:

aforetime, anyplace, anyway, anyways, anywhen, anywhence, anywhere, anywhither, anywise, beforetime, betimes, daytimes, elsehow, elsewards, elsewhat, elsewhen, elsewhence, elsewhere, elsewhither, elsewho, elsewise, everywhen, foretime, heretoforetime, midtime, mostwhen, noontimes, nowhen, oftentime, oftentimes, otherlike, otherliker, othertime, othertimes, otherward, otherwards, otherways, otherwhat, otherwhence, otherwhere, otherwheres, otherwhile, otherwhiles, otherwhither, otherwise, overtime, sometime, sometimes, someway, someways, somewhat, somewhatly, somewhen, somewhence, somewhere, somewhile, somewhiles, somewhither, somewho, somewhy, somewise, toforetime.

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    Is it possible that the word othertimes isn't actually obsolete as such, but the more common realization thereof is now other times (i.e. two separate words with a space between?-- For example, it does sound rather marked/poetic, but consider Sometimes I feel like a nut; other times I don't. – errantlinguist Jan 26 '17 at 20:51
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    @errantlinguist I hadn't thought of that! – tchrist Jan 26 '17 at 21:17
  • (Also, sometimes I don't) – errantlinguist Jan 26 '17 at 21:47
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    Your last box has some amazing words!! elsewhat, otherwhere, everywhen. I'll try to implement some of them oftentimes in my lexicon. – luchonacho Jan 27 '17 at 8:22
4

Is there an alternative, easier way to say that, so that its existence has been unnecessary?

"Easier" is somewhat subjective. It could be about brevity or clarity. You know, the interrogative words also have another modifier -ever, which has survived to modern times. This pairs nicely with the stand-alone word else:

  • Whoever else
  • Whatever else
  • Whenever else
  • Wherever else
  • Why ever else (Note: Whyever used to be an accepted spelling, but it has mostly died off.)
  • However else

In your example sentence, it would work fine with a slight reordering:

Fertility might have fallen among women born between 1940 and 1960, and whenever else remained unchanged.

  • I don't see how this addresses the OP's question about the word 'elsewhen'. – Mitch Jan 26 '17 at 22:51
  • @Mitch OP asked "Is there an alternative, easier way to say that, so that its existence has been unnecessary?" Also, "why" answers are often impossible to prove, but in this case it is possible that elsewhen was viewed as short hand of "whenever else", and "whenever else" eventually won out over the years. – called2voyage Jan 26 '17 at 22:54
  • OK. I'm not sure I follow the reasoning but I'm sure that makes the connection more explicit. Can you edit you answer to add that? – Mitch Jan 26 '17 at 22:55
  • @Mitch I added a little bit without leaning too speculative. – called2voyage Jan 26 '17 at 22:56
  • OK. Now I understand what you're trying to say. I just don't agree that 'whenever else' fits in that spot with the intended meaning. – Mitch Jan 26 '17 at 23:01

protected by Mari-Lou A Jan 28 '17 at 8:04

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