Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • conj. In the event that: If I were to go, I would be late.
  • conj. Granting that: If that is true, what should we do?
  • conj. On the condition that: She will play the piano only if she is paid.
  • conj. Although possibly; even though: It is a handsome if useless trinket.
  • conj. Whether: Ask if he plans to come to the meeting.
  • conj. Used to introduce an exclamatory clause, indicating a wish: If they had only come earlier!
  • n. A possibility, condition, or stipulation: There will be no ifs, ands, or buts in this matter.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • conj. Supposing that, assuming that, in the circumstances that; used to introduce a condition or choice.
  • conj. Supposing that; used with past subjunctive indicating that the condition is not fulfilled.
  • conj. Although; used to introduce a concession.
  • conj. In the event that a statement is true (a programming statement that acts in a similar manner).
  • conj. Whether; used to introduce a noun clause as the object of certain verbs.
  • conj. Even if; even in the circumstances that.
  • n. An uncertainty, possibility, condition, doubt etc.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • conj. In case that; granting, allowing, or supposing that; -- introducing a condition or supposition.
  • conj. Whether; -- in dependent questions.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • In case that; granting, allowing, or supposing that; on condition that: used in introducing a conditional sentence or clause: as, I will go if you do; if he is there, I shall see him.
  • Whether: used in introducing an object clause.
  • Although; notwithstanding that: as, I am honest, if I am poor; he is strong, if he is little.

Etymologies

Middle English, from Old English gif.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
From Middle English yif, yef, from Old English ġif, ġef ("if; whether, though"), from Proto-Germanic *jabai (“when, if”), from Proto-Indo-European *e-, *ē- (“then, at that time”). Cognate with Scots gif ("if, whether"), West Frisian oft ("whether"), Dutch of ("or, whether, but"), Middle Low German ef ("if, whether"), German ob ("if, whether"), Icelandic ef, if ("if"). (Wiktionary)

Examples

Comments

Log in or sign up to get involved in the conversation. It's quick and easy.

  • Warning in turn: "Considered Harmful" Essays Considered Harmful.

    October 16, 2008

  • Great minds think alike, eh?

    October 16, 2008

  • GOTO CONSIDERED HARMFUL

    October 15, 2008

  • Careful whichbe! Go To Statement Considered Harmful.

    October 14, 2008

  • THEN GOTO 100.

    October 14, 2008

  • Usage on gunpowder.

    October 14, 2008

  • The Latvian equivalent for the "if" statement is ja tantei būtu riteņi, tante būtu tramvajs, or "if your auntie had wheels, she'd be a streetcar". That's a very, very old expression, and it is still in use today.

    July 22, 2008

  • "balls!" said the queen: "if i had two, i'd be king."

    July 22, 2008

  • Or, contrastingly, if your auntie had balls, she'd be your uncle.

    July 22, 2008

  • UK response to statement starting If..
    "If my uncle had tits he'd be my auntie."

    July 22, 2008

  • Oh dear. Tonight I was that close – that close to being infamous. I don't want to be infamous. I want to be... f'mous. Famous. Like the Rudyard Kipling poem, 'If'. You know that? 'If' you do X, Y and Z, Bob's your uncle.

    - I'm Alan Partridge, episode 4, BBC TV.

    July 1, 2008

  • ...if it's 6 o'clock
    you can hear the News;
    if you can hear the News
    you have ears. Therefore
    if it's 6 you've ears...

    - Peter Reading, 5x5x5x5x5, 1983

    July 1, 2008

  • If by Rudyard Kipling

    If you can keep your head when all about you
    Are losing theirs and blaming it on you;
    If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you,
    But make allowance for their doubting too;
    If you can wait and not be tired by waiting,
    Or, being lied about, don't deal in lies,
    Or, being hated, don't give way to hating,
    And yet don't look too good, nor talk too wise;

    If you can dream - and not make dreams your master;
    If you can think - and not make thoughts your aim;
    If you can meet with triumph and disaster
    And treat those two imposters just the same;
    If you can bear to hear the truth you've spoken
    Twisted by knaves to make a trap for fools,
    Or watch the things you gave your life to broken,
    And stoop and build 'em up with wornout tools;

    If you can make one heap of all your winnings
    And risk it on one turn of pitch-and-toss,
    And lose, and start again at your beginnings
    And never breath a word about your loss;
    If you can force your heart and nerve and sinew
    To serve your turn long after they are gone,
    And so hold on when there is nothing in you
    Except the Will which says to them: "Hold on";

    If you can talk with crowds and keep your virtue,
    Or walk with kings - nor lose the common touch;
    If neither foes nor loving friends can hurt you;
    If all men count with you, but none too much;
    If you can fill the unforgiving minute
    With sixty seconds' worth of distance run -
    Yours is the Earth and everything that's in it,
    And - which is more - you'll be a Man my son.

    December 11, 2006