what if

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what if

1. An expression used to speculate about something. What if I was able to drive you there. Would that change anything? What if aliens did exist? What would that mean for society?
2. A speculative scenario; a speculation about an outcome that cannot yet be known or ascertained. There is a possibility that we could write off some of these losses, but it's still a big what if at this point.
See also: if, what

What if...?

What would be the result if something were true? What if you had all the money you want? What if everyone thought you were great?
See also: what

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.
See also: if, what

what if...?


1 what would happen if ...?: What if the car breaks down?
2 why should I care if ...? what does it matter if ...?: ‘You’ll fail the exam if you don’t work harder, Carol.’ ‘What if I do? It’s not the end of the world.’
See also: what

what if

1. What would occur if; suppose that: What if we were rich?
2. What does it matter if: What if he gets angry?—I don't care.
See also: if, what
References in periodicals archive ?
With a unique methodology, Black performs a what-if analysis of history to show how little it takes to change the world's fate.
It's a what-if of almost mythical proportions when you consider the basic physics of flight.
Euan Macdonald's drawings and paintings tend to fall into a few basic categories: There's the twist on reality; the obvious but unconsidered; the unexpected occurrence; the capturing of the elusive; the answer to a what-if question.
The program includes a what-if tax planning module.