- 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.
- ifs, ands, or buts, reservations, restrictions, or excuses: I want that job finished today, and no ifs, ands, or buts.
Origin of if
SynonymsSee more synonyms for if on Thesaurus.com
- Irish Free State.
Examples from the Web for ifs
All of these far future speculations, of course, depend on a series of “ifs.”Men Will Someday Have Kids Without Women
January 3, 2015
So, for us to know if Kepler-186f is habitable or not, we have to consider several “ifs”.What Does the Discovery of “Another Earth” Mean for Us?
Matthew R. Francis
April 18, 2014
As an historian, I am not supposed to traffic in “ifs” but as a peace activist and citizen I must.Both Bibi And Abbas Pander To Extremes
December 6, 2012
I still generally predict that Cain makes it through this, but that depends on a lot of ifs.The Cain Sexual-Harassment Game
November 2, 2011
That's a whole lot of "ifs" for one sentence—but it's the best chance Anthony Weiner has to keep going.Should Weiner Resign? Daily Beast Contributors Weigh In
The Daily Beast
June 7, 2011
I tell you frankly, Paine, if you go to work for me there must be no 'ifs' or 'buts' about it.The Rise of Roscoe Paine
Joseph C. Lincoln
"I have no time for 'buts' and 'ifs,'" she interrupts him, gently.Molly Bawn
Margaret Wolfe Hamilton
He's done a great play, and there are no ifs or ans about it.The Story of a Play
W. D. Howells
Now, Agnes, do leave the buts and ifs out once, and say that you would really like it.'Our guy'
Mrs. E. E. Boyd
If "ifs" an' "ans" were kettles an' pans there would be nae use for tinklers.The Proverbs of Scotland
- Irish Free State (now called Republic of Ireland)
- intermediate frequency
- in case that, or on condition thatif 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 thoughan attractive if awkward girl
- used to introduce expressions of desire, with onlyif I had only known
- used to introduce exclamations of surprise, dismay, etcif this doesn't top everything!
- as if as it would be if; as thoughhe treats me as if I were junior to him
- 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 and History for ifs
Old English gif (initial g- in Old English pronounced with a sound close to Modern English -y-), from Proto-Germanic *ja-ba (cf. Old Saxon, Old Norse ef, Old Frisian gef, Old High German ibu, German ob, Dutch of "if, whether"), from PIE pronomial stem *i- [Watkins]; Klein, OED suggest probably originally from an oblique case of a noun meaning "doubt" (cf. Old High German iba "condition, stipulation, doubt," Old Norse if "doubt, hesitation," Swedish jäf "exception, challenge"). As a noun from 1510s.
- initiation factor
Idioms and Phrases with ifs
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