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View synonyms for what-if

what-if

[ hwuht-if, hwot, wuht, wot ]

adjective

  1. hypothetical:

    a what-if scenario.



noun

  1. a hypothetical case or situation; conjecture:

    a series of what-ifs.

what-if

noun

  1. informal.
    a hypothetical question; speculation

    one of the great what-ifs of modern history



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Word History and Origins

Origin of what-if1

First recorded in 1980–85
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Idioms and Phrases

Suppose that, as in What if the speaker doesn't get here in time? This expression is in effect a shortening of “what would happen if.” It was first recorded about 1420.
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Example Sentences

That is, when things are going well, no one feels compelled to spend money on a what-if project.

Take concrete steps aimed at addressing the problem that looms, rather than ruminating abstractly about what-if scenarios.

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Definitions and idiom definitions from Dictionary.com Unabridged, based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023

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

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