What does the phrase "if that" mean?

Chandler said that in Friends on 13 episode of 8 season. Here's a dialog:

Joey: You know what. This is a bad idea. Forget all about it. And listen, do me a favor, this conversation between you and me.
Chandler: If that. How can I understand that?

  • I found the subtitle file here. Which dashed any hopes that you'd simply mistranscribed the text. To a first approximation, I'd say If that doesn't actually mean anything here. But just maybe what Chandler means is What we're having is barely even a conversation. OR maybe Joey performed some kind of gesture after saying this conversation between you and me, that could reasonably be interpreted as proposing some kind of "minimalist" (re-)action to the conversation (and Chandler doesn't even want to endorse a minimal reaction). Sep 7, 2021 at 17:02
  • Whatever - quite possibly the exact usage as cited here can't be authoritatively deciphered. But as a general principle, If that as a response in any "normal conversation" would mean something along the lines of Whatever you're suggesting (which is already a relatively low-key reaction or designation) is more than is justified. So it should be treated as a maximum, which in practice probably won't be reached. Sep 7, 2021 at 17:07

1 Answer 1


"If that" is a phrase used when someone has made a comparison (generally a comparison to something poor). "If that" means that it may be even worse than the comparison implies.

A: The company will only just meet its sales targets this year.

B: If that.

B means that the company might fall a good way short of the sales targets.

In the example "If that" could refer to two previous statements. It may refer to "This is a bad idea", and would mean that the idea is 'worse than bad'.

The second is that it refers to "This conversation is between you and me", and the meaning would be "it isn't even between you and me", presumably because Chandler didn't understand it or because he didn't say anything. In either case it's a conversation Joey is essentially having with himself.

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