in case that; granting or supposing that; on condition that: Sing if you want to. Stay indoors if it rains. I'll go if you do.
even though: an enthusiastic if small audience.
whether: He asked if I knew Spanish.
(used to introduce an exclamatory phrase): If only Dad could see me now!
when or whenever: If it was raining, we had to play inside.
a supposition; uncertain possibility: The future is full of ifs.
a condition, requirement, or stipulation: There are too many ifs in his agreement.
Idioms about if
ifs, ands, or buts, reservations, restrictions, or excuses: I want that job finished today, and no ifs, ands, or buts.
Other definitions for if (2 of 2)
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023
How to use if in a sentence
It requires that likely answers be anticipated, that elaborate “if/then” scenarios be war-gamed.
if they abused that power, it would be noticed-if not by the press, then by their colleagues, and if noticed, then punished.Memo: The Aaron Sorkin Model of Political Discourse Doesn't Actually Work | Megan McArdle | April 23, 2013 | THE DAILY BEAST
Seems like people in dangerous neighborhoods are braver and trust in God more than people in safer neighborhoods-if you ask me.
That is, when things are going well, no one feels compelled to spend money on a what-if project.What to Do With the Thousands Displaced by Hurricane Sandy? | Malcolm Jones | November 8, 2012 | THE DAILY BEAST
Andrew hopes he sees in this division the seeds of a "return to sanity" if/after Romney loses.
if-itty-teshi-mow Jays Haddee ny up-plo-now-shi-buh nays;ha!The Book of Humorous Verse | Various
It is a succession of short notes rapidly uttered, as if the bird said "if-if-if-if-if-if-if."A Year in the Fields | John Burroughs
By all the gods!if he had only known Who held him between life and death upon the Mauvais Pas!The Sorrows of Satan | Marie Corelli
Sir S. returned the nod stiffly, with an "I-wonder-if-I-really-do know-you,-or-if-this-is-a-trick-to-claim-acquaintance?"The Heather-Moon | C. N. Williamson and A. M. Williamson
if so, I knew him now for a fiend in very truth!if burning horror and endless shame can so transfigure the soul of man!The Sorrows of Satan | Marie Corelli
British Dictionary definitions for if (1 of 2)
in case that, or on condition that: if you try hard it might work; if he were poor, would you marry him?
used to introduce an indirect question. In this sense, if approaches the meaning of whether
even though: an attractive if awkward girl
used to introduce expressions of desire, with only: if I had only known
used to introduce exclamations of surprise, dismay, etc: if this doesn't top everything!
as if as it would be if; as though: he treats me as if I were junior to him
an uncertainty or doubt: the big if is whether our plan will work at all
a condition or stipulation: I won't have any ifs or buts
British Dictionary definitions for IF (2 of 2)
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
Other Idioms and Phrases with if
In addition to the idioms beginning with if
- if anything
- if at first you don't succeed, try, try again
- if it ain't broke don't fix it
- if only
- if the mountain won't come to Muhammad, Muhammad must go to the mountain
- if the shoe fits, wear it
- if wishes were horses
- if worst comes to worst
- if you can't beat 'em, join 'em
- if you can't stand the heat, get out of the kitchen
- as if
- damned if I do, damned if I don't
- make as if to
- no ifs or buts
- nothing if not
- (if) push comes to shove
- what if
The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.