Cambridge Dictionaries online Cambridge Dictionaries online

The most popular online dictionary and thesaurus for learners of English

English definition of “if”

See all translations

if

conjunction uk   /ɪf/ us  

if conjunction (IN THAT SITUATION)

A2 used to say that a particular thing can or will happen only after something else happens or becomes true: I'll pay you double if you get the work finished by Friday. We'll have the party in the garden if the weather's good. If not (= if the weather is not good), it'll have to be inside. If anyone calls, just say I'll be back in the office at four o'clock. If she hadn't called, I wouldn't have known. I wouldn't work for them (even) if they paid me twice my current salary. We'll deal with that problem if and when it arises. If disturbed, the bird may abandon the nest, leaving the chicks to die. although: They're great kids, even if they can be demanding. literary It was a hot, if windy day.B1 every time: If water is heated to 100°C it turns to steam. If I don't get enough sleep I get a headache. used to mean "if it is true that": I'm very sorry if I've offended you.
More examples

if conjunction (WHETHER)

B1 used to introduce a clause, often in indirect speech, that shows two or more possibilities: Mrs Kramer called half an hour ago to ask if her cake was ready. I don't care if he likes it or not - I'm coming! I was wondering if you'd like to come to the cinema with me this evening?
Compare
More examples

if conjunction (REQUEST)

used when you want to make a polite request or remark: If you'd like to take a seat, Mr Chang will be with you in a moment. Would you mind if I open/opened (= can I open) the window? There are, if you don't mind me saying so, one or two problems with this plan.
Grammar

if

noun [C usually singular] uk   /ɪf/ informal us  
something that is not certain or not yet decided: There's a big if hanging over the project (= it is uncertain whether the project will happen).
(Definition of if from the Cambridge Advanced Learners Dictionary & Thesaurus © Cambridge University Press)
What is the pronunciation of if?
Add Cambridge dictionaries to your browser to your website

Definitions of “if” in other dictionaries

Word of the Day

glacial

made or left by a glacier

Word of the Day

Let’s celebrate! (words and phrases for parties)

by Kate Woodford,
December 17, 2014
​​​ With Christmas and New Year almost upon us, we thought it a good time to look at the language of parties and celebrations. First, let’s start with the word ‘party’ itself. To have or throw a party or, less commonly, to give a party is to arrange a party: We’re having a

Read More 

cinderella surgery noun

December 15, 2014
cosmetic surgery to the feet We have all heard of people having nose jobs, boob jobs and liposuction – but now a new trend growing in popularity in America: Cinderella surgery.

Read More