ˌ(h)wət- How to pronounce what-if (audio)
: a suppositional question
what-if adjective

Examples of what-if in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web Winter Kills takes the what-if scenario from Richard Condon’s 1974 novel — what if a Kennedy-like commander-in-chief had been killed by not one gunman, not two gunmen, but a plan involving a half dozen different parties — and pumps it full of nitrous oxide. David Fear, Rolling Stone, 12 Aug. 2023 But on a goal line run play, Thomas tore his ACL chasing a ball-carrier, creating a what-if scenario that Kaye still considers. Jimmy Watkins, cleveland, 2 Aug. 2023 Klein has authored articles on Moreno for the online publication Cartoon Research and stresses his career isn’t really a what-if, since Moreno found success. Gustavo Arellano, Los Angeles Times, 28 June 2023 Transformers: Rise of the Beasts director Steven Caple Jr. has now brought two intriguing what-if scenarios to fruition. Brian Davids, The Hollywood Reporter, 12 June 2023 Beyond that, Ackerman delivers a potent critique of the what-if nature of talking about history in general. Mark Athitakis, Washington Post, 7 June 2023 For the Red Sox, the opportunity to see Eflin at Fenway carries an offseason what-if. Alex Speier, BostonGlobe.com, 5 June 2023 The what-if scenarios:Fear over AI dangers grows as some question if tools like ChatGPT will be used for evil Similar scams preying on parents and grandparents are also popping up in nearly every state in America. Jennifer Jolly, USA TODAY, 16 May 2023 The technology also lags the market on scenario analysis and what-if optimization. Lora Cecere, Forbes, 4 May 2023 See More

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'what-if.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History

First Known Use

1970, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of what-if was in 1970

Dictionary Entries Near what-if

Cite this Entry

“What-if.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/what-if. Accessed 25 Sep. 2023.

Last Updated: - Updated example sentences
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