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what-if

[ hwuht-if, hwot‐, wuht‐, wot‐ ]
/ ˈʰwʌtˈɪf, ˈʰwɒt‐, ˈwʌt‐, ˈwɒt‐ /
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adjective

hypothetical: a what-if scenario.

noun

a hypothetical case or situation; conjecture: a series of what-ifs.

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On the farm, the feed for chicks is significantly different from the roosters’; ______ not even comparable.

Origin of what-if

First recorded in 1980–85
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2021

British Dictionary definitions for what-if

what-if

noun

informal a hypothetical question; speculationone of the great what-ifs of modern history
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

Idioms and Phrases with what-if

what if

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.

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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