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not if one can help it

Only without one's agreement, only if one cannot prevent it. For example, Is he taking a second job?—Not if his wife can help it, or He's not riding on the back of that motorcycle, not if I can help it. This idiom uses help in the sense of “prevent” or “cause to be otherwise.” [ Mid-1800s ]
The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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