ifs, ands, or buts

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English[edit]

Noun[edit]

ifs, ands, or buts (plural only)

  1. (idiomatic) Modifications, limitations, or addenda; qualifications of any kind; speculations about whether a particular idea or enterprise is good.
    • 1947, Tennessee Williams, A Streetcar Named Desire, Dramatists Play Service, Inc. (1952), ISBN 0822210894, page 29,
      BLANCHE. That must’ve been what happened. ¶ STANLEY. I don’t want no ifs, ands or buts! What’s all the rest of the papers?
    • 1962, advertisement, in Popular Science, Popular Science Publishing Company, page 175,
      There are no gimmicks. There are No Exceptions, No Exclusions, No Limitations, waiting periods, no ifs, ands or buts.
    • 1992 March 18, Alice Kahn, “House Cleaners Come Clean; Straight talk about their work, their lives and you”, San Francisco Chronicle, page Z1:
      I think individuals do a better job than agencies because agencies have a lot of' ifs, ands or buts' because of insurance.
    • 2003 August, Alice Hoffman, “What I wish I'd told my mother”, Redbook, volume 201, page 106: 
      A relationship with a grandmother doesn't contain the same ifs, ands, or buts of a mother-daughter pairing.
    • 2007, Walt Love, The Gospel According to Rev. Walt "Baby" Love: Inspirations and Meditations from the Gospel Radio Legend, Simon and Schuster, ISBN 0743291654, page 32,
      There are no ifs, ands, or buts if we are going to stand on the promises found in the Holy Bible.

Usage notes[edit]

  • Most often in a negative phrase (especially "no ifs, ands or buts")

Translations[edit]