1

if

conjunction \ ˈif , əf \

Definition of if

1 a : in the event that
b : allowing that
c : on the assumption that
d : on condition that
2 : whether
  • asked if the mail had come
  • I doubt if I'll pass the course
3 used as a function word to introduce an exclamation expressing a wish
  • if it would only rain
4 : even though : although perhaps
  • an interesting if untenable argument
5 : and perhaps not even
  • few if any changes are expected
often used with not
  • difficult if not impossible
if anything
: on the contrary even : perhaps even
  • if anything, you ought to apologize

Origin and Etymology of if

Middle English, from Old English gif; akin to Old High German ibu if


2

if

noun \ ˈif \

Definition of if

1 : condition, stipulation
  • the question … depends on too many ifs to allow an answer
  • Encounter

Examples of if in a Sentence

  1. There are too many ifs in this proposal.

  2. your conclusion may turn out to be accurate, but you're postulating a lot of ifs

Recent Examples of if from the Web

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'if.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

First Known Use of if

1513



IF Defined for English Language Learners

if

conjunction

Definition of if for English Language Learners

  • —used to talk about the result or effect of something that may happen or be true

  • —used to discuss the imaginary result or effect of something that did not happen or that is or was not true

  • —used to say that something must happen before another thing can happen


if

noun

Definition of if for English Language Learners

  • : something that is not certain : something that could either happen or not happen


IF Defined for Kids

if

conjunction \ ˈif , əf \

Definition of if for Students

1 : in the event that
  • If it rains we'll stay home.
2 : whether 1
  • See if they have left.
3 used to introduce a wish
  • If only it would rain.

Medical Dictionary

IF

abbreviation

medical Definition of IF

interferon


Seen and Heard

What made you want to look up if? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!

WORD OF THE DAY

of very fine texture or delicate form

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Star Wars Words Quiz

  • cu-jedi-training
  • The bounty portion of bounty hunters (such as Boba Fett) comes from a Latin word meaning
How Strong Is Your Vocabulary?

Test your vocabulary with our 10-question quiz!

TAKE THE QUIZ
Syn City

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

TAKE THE QUIZ

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!