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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.
QUIZ
SHALL WE PLAY A "SHALL" VS. "SHOULD" CHALLENGE?
Should you take this quiz on “shall” versus “should”? It should prove to be a quick challenge!
Question 1 of 6
Which form is used to state an obligation or duty someone has?

Origin of what-if

First recorded in 1980–85
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2022

How to use what-if in a sentence

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

Other 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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