if

[ if ]
/ ɪf /

conjunction

noun

a supposition; uncertain possibility: The future is full of ifs.
a condition, requirement, or stipulation: There are too many ifs in his agreement.

Idioms

    ifs, ands, or buts, reservations, restrictions, or excuses: I want that job finished today, and no ifs, ands, or buts.

Origin of if

before 900; Middle English, variant of yif, Old English gif, gef; akin to Old Norse ef if, Gothic ibai whether, Old High German iba condition, stipulation

SYNONYMS FOR if

1, 2 If, provided, providing imply a condition on which something depends. If is general. It may be used to indicate suppositions or hypothetical conditions (often involving doubt or uncertainty): If you like, we can go straight home. If I had known, I wouldn't have gone. If may mean even though: If I am wrong, you are not right. It may mean whenever: If I do not understand, I ask questions. Provided always indicates some stipulation: I will subscribe ten dollars provided ( on the condition ) that you do, too. Provided he goes, we can go along. Providing means the same as provided, that is, just in case some certain thing should happen: We will buy the house, providing ( provided ) we can get a mortgage.

Usage note

If meaning “whether,” as in I haven't decided if I'll go, is sometimes criticized, but the usage has been established in standard English for a long time.

Definition for if (2 of 2)

if

or IF

Radio.


Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

British Dictionary definitions for if (1 of 2)

if

/ (ɪf) /

conjunction (subordinating)


noun

an uncertainty or doubtthe big if is whether our plan will work at all
a condition or stipulationI won't have any ifs or buts

Word Origin for if

Old English gif; related to Old Saxon ef if, Old High German iba whether, if

British Dictionary definitions for if (2 of 2)

IF

i.f.

/ electronics /

abbreviation for

intermediate frequency

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

Medicine definitions for if

IF

abbr.

initiation factor

The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.

Idioms and Phrases with if

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

also see:

  • 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.