Meaning of “what if?” in the English Dictionary

british dictionary

"what if?" in British English

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what if?

B1 used to ask about something that could happen in the future, especially something bad:

What if the bus is late?
What if you don't pass your exams?

(Definition of “what if?” from the Cambridge Advanced Learner’s Dictionary & Thesaurus © Cambridge University Press)

"what if" in American English

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what if

used for asking what action to take if a particular thing should happen:

What if our plane is delayed and we can’t make the connection?

(Definition of “what if” from the Cambridge Academic Content Dictionary © Cambridge University Press)

"what-if" in Business English

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what-ifnoun [ C ]

uk us

a question about what could happen or what could have happened in a particular situation if something was or had been different:

a what-if question/scenario State agencies have until Sept. 30 to identify their "what-if" budget cut scenarios.

(Definition of “what-if” from the Cambridge Business English Dictionary © Cambridge University Press)