ifs and ans
  1. hypotheticals; counterfactuals; things that one only wishes were the case
    • c. 1599, Thomas Dekker, The Shoemaker's Holiday
      Away with these ifs and ans, Hans, and these et caeteraes, by mine honor Rowland Lacy none but the king shall wrong thee: […]
    • 1865, The Musical World (page 46)
      "Oh!" quoth the Emperor, "Oh, excellent oats! . . . you feed your horses upon ifs and ans. The man that invented ifs and ans certainly made gold of chopped straw! […]
    • 1912, Percy Adolphus Vaile, The Soul of Golf
      And yet such is the constitution of the human golfing soul that it not only fails to achieve it, but invents for itself multiform and manifold ifs and ans for not achieving it— […]

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