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Webster 1913 Edition


If

If

,
c
onj.
[OE.
if
,
gif
, AS.
gif
; akin to OFries.
ief
,
gef
,
ef
, OS.
ef
,
of
, D.
of
, or, whether, if, G.
ob
whether, if, OHG.
oba
,
ibu
, Icel.
ef
, Goth.
iba
,
ibai
, an interrogative particle; properly a case form of a noun meaning, doubt (cf. OHG.
iba
doubt, condition, Icel.
if
,
ef
,
ifi
,
efi
), and therefore orig. meaning, on condition that.]
1.
In case that; granting, allowing, or supposing that; – introducing a condition or supposition.
Tisiphone, that oft hast heard my prayer,
Assist,
if
Œdipus deserve thy care.
Pope.
If
thou be the Son of God, command that these stones be made bread.
Matt. iv. 3.
2.
Whether; – in dependent questions.
Uncertain
if
by augury or chance.
Dryden.
She doubts
if
two and two make four.
Prior.
As if
,
But if
.
See under
As
,
But
.

Webster 1828 Edition


If

IF

,
Verb.
T.
It is used as the sign of a condition, or it introduces a conditional sentence. It is a verb, without a specified nominative. In like manner we use grant, admit, suppose. Regularly, if should be followed, as it was formerly, by the substitute or pronoun that, referring to the succeeding sentence or proposition. If that John shall arrive in season, I will send him with a message. But that is now omitted,and the subsequent sentence, proposition or affirmation may be considered as the object of the verb. Give John shall arrive; grant,suppose, admit that he shall arrive, I will send him with a message. The sense of if, or give, in this use, is grant, admit, cause to be, let the fact be,let the thing take place. If then is equivalent to grant, allow, admit. 'If thou wilt, thou canst make me whole,' that is, thou canst make me whole, give the fact, that thou wilt.
If thou art the son of God, command that these stones be made bread. Matt.14.
1.
Whether or not.
Uncertain if by augury or chance.

Definition 2023


if

if

See also: -if and IF

English

Alternative forms

Conjunction

if

  1. Supposing that, assuming that, in the circumstances that; used to introduce a condition or choice.
    If it rains, I shall get wet.
  2. (computing) In the event that a statement is true (a programming statement that acts in a similar manner).
    If A, then B, else C.
  3. Supposing that; used with past or past perfect subjunctive indicating that the condition is closed.
    I'd prefer it if you took your shoes off.
    I'd be unhappy if you had not talked with me yesterday.
  4. Although; used to introduce a concession.
    He was a great friend, if a little stingy at the bar.
  5. (sometimes proscribed) Whether; used to introduce a noun clause, an indirect question, that functions as the direct object of certain verbs.
    I don't know if I want to go or not.
    • 1715–1717, Matthew Prior, Alma; or, The Progress of the Mind, Canto III:
      Quoth Matthew, “ [] / She doubts if two and two make four, / []
  6. (usually hyperbolic) Even if; even in the circumstances that.
    • 2004, David Lee Murphy and Kim Tribble (writers), Montgomery Gentry (singers), “If It’s The Last Thing I Do” (song), in You Do Your Thing (album):
      If it’s the last thing I do / If it takes me from Tubilo to Timbuktu / If it’s the last thing I do / I’m gonna dodge every road block, speed trap, county cop / To get my hands on you / If it’s the last thing I do.
  7. (Discuss(+) this sense) As is the case, since
    If that's true, we had better get moving!
  8. Introducing a relevance conditional.
    I have lefterover cake if you want some.

Usage notes

  • Specifically a subordinating conjunction.
  • Some usage critics recommend that if not be used to mean whether, since the distinction can remove ambiguity, as in the following example:
Tell me if you can see her. (if the addressee can see her, then he must let the speaker know)
Tell me whether you can see her. (the speaker wants to know whether the addressee can see her)
  • This distinction is further encouraged because if cannot always be used in place of whether. For instance, if the noun clause acts as the subject of the sentence or an object of a preposition, the word must be whether. Examples:
We like to talk about whether classical music is better than jazz. (not if classical music is better than jazz)
Whether you like today's weather does not matter. (not If you like today's weather)

Derived terms

Translations

Noun

if (plural ifs)

  1. (informal) An uncertainty, possibility, condition, doubt etc.
    • 1709, Susannah Centlivre, The Busy Body, Act III, in John Bell (ed.), British Theater, J. Bell (1791), page 59,
      Sir Fran. Nay, but Chargy, if——— ¶ Miran. Nay, Gardy, no Ifs.——Have I refus'd three northern lords, two British peers, and half a score knights, to have put in your Ifs?
    • 1791 January, "Richardſon’s Chemical Principles of the Metallic Arts", in The Monthly Review, R. Griffiths, page 176,
      Well might Bergman add, (in his Sciographia,), if the compariſon that has been made, &c. be juſt.” The preſent writer makes no ifs about the matter, and has ſuperadded a little inaccuracy of his own, […]
    • 2013 April 9, Andrei Lankov, “Stay Cool. Call North Korea’s Bluff.”, in New York Times:
      Even if they managed to strike Japan, the United States or South Korea with nuclear weapons — a big if, given that they do not have a reliable delivery system — they could not save themselves from ultimate defeat.

Derived terms

Translations

See also

Statistics

Most common English words before 1923: no · them · when · #51: if · there · more · out

Anagrams


French

Etymology

From Middle French if, from Old French if, from Frankish *īw or Gaulish *ivos (yew, yew tree) (compare Breton ivin, Irish eo, Welsh ywen), from Proto-Indo-European *ei-k-wo, *ei-wo- (compare Proto-Germanic *īwaz (yew)), see yew.

Pronunciation

  • IPA(key): /if/

Noun

if m (plural ifs)

  1. yew

Norman

Etymology

From Old French if, from Gaulish *ivos (yew, yew tree), from Proto-Indo-European *ei-k-wo, *ei-wo-.

Noun

if m (plural ifs)

  1. (Jersey) yew

Old French

Noun

if f (oblique plural is, nominative singular if, nominative plural is)

  1. yew
  2. yew wood

Descendants

  • French: if
  • Norman: if

Volapük

Etymology

Borrowing from English if.

Conjunction

if

  1. if