From the Ancient Greek αἴκα – “if”.
One step off the beaten path.
After Philip II of Macedon invaded southern Greece and receiving the submission of other key city-states, he turned his attention to Sparta and asked menacingly whether he should come as friend or foe.
The reply was
Losing patience, he sent the message: You are advised to submit without further delay, for if I bring my army into your land, I will destroy your farms, slay your people, and raze your city.
The Spartan ephors again replied with a single word: