What-if meaning

Using a spreadsheet as a planning tool. When new data are entered, results are calculated based upon the formulas. Assumptions can be plugged in over and over, with the calculations rippling through to every column and row and deriving a result in a second or two. For example, "What would our profit be if hourly pay were increased by $2?" "What if it were increased by $3?"
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Used to introduce a suggestion or proposal for a future event.

What if we arrange it for 9:00 instead of 10:00?

adverb
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Used to introduce a speculation about a future event.

What if we could learn to get along? What would happen then?

adverb
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Used to introduce a speculation about a past event. Often the basis for counterfactual historical interpretations.

What if Abraham Lincoln had not been assassinated? How might the Reconstruction of the Southern States have been handled?

adverb
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(informal) A speculation as to what might have happened if something else had happened earlier.
noun
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(informal) To speculate about the consequences of something that could have happened.
verb
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