\ \ [OE] The Old English version of if was gif, but its initial g was closer to modern English y in pronunciation than to g, and the conjunction gradually evolved through Middle English yif to if. It is not known where it ultimately came from; it is evidently connected with Old High German ibacondition’ and Old Norse efdoubt’, but whether it started life as a noun like these or was from the beginning a conjunction is not clear. Its surviving Germanic relatives are German obwhether’ and Dutch ofif’.

Word origins - 2ed. . 2005.


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