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Idioms and Phrases with not if one can help it

not if one can help it

Only without one's agreement, only if one cannot prevent it. For example, Is he taking a second job?—Not if his wife can help it, or He's not riding on the back of that motorcycle, not if I can help it. This idiom uses help in the sense of “prevent” or “cause to be otherwise.” [Mid-1800s]

The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.