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It's a pretty simple question, but just to clarify, I am talking about the expression used by itself, not just in a sentence.

So not:

— Have you seen Ted?
— Yes! He flew through here as if his pants were on fire!

But rather:

— Why are you denying it? You clearly like her...
— Me, like her? As if.

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up vote 8 down vote accepted

The OED dates it to circa 1903, from the book The Pit: A Story of Chicago by Frank Norris, with this citation :

'Maybe he'll come up and speak to us.’ ‘Oh, as if!’ contradicted Laura.

The Merriam-Webster reference is probably to the Old English use of "as if" in in the sense 'as the case would be if'.

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Thanks, Barrie. When you say "very early", did it give a date? – Django Reinhardt Dec 19 '11 at 16:16
Ok, a little Googling has revealed that quote to be from "The Pit: A Story of Chicago" by Frank Norris. Google Books has this dated as 1798, which is clearly a misunderstanding by the person who digitized it. It was apparently actually first published in 1902. So very early 20th century indeed! – Django Reinhardt Dec 19 '11 at 16:21

Merriam-Webster records its first use in the 13th century.

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As a stand-alone expression? – Django Reinhardt Dec 19 '11 at 6:50
Unfortunately, there was no example given. My guess is that no, it was referring to its use as a conjunction. However, they aren't as different as you might think. "As if" as an expression is an elliptic form of "As if that were true", so the meaning stays the same. – Irene Dec 19 '11 at 6:53

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