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From Middle English how +‎ ever.



however (not comparable)

  1. (conjunctive) Nevertheless, nonetheless, even so, that said, in spite of this.
    He told me not to do it. However, I did it anyway.
    • 1893, Walter Besant, The Ivory Gate, Prologue:
      Thus, when he drew up instructions in lawyer language, he expressed the important words by an initial, a medial, or a final consonant, and made scratches for all the words between; his clerks, however, understood him very well.
    • 1918, W. B. Maxwell, chapter 2, The Mirror and the Lamp:
      That the young Mr. Churchills liked—but they did not like him coming round of an evening and drinking weak whisky-and-water while he held forth on railway debentures and corporation loans. Mr. Barrett, however, by fawning and flattery, seemed to be able to make not only Mrs. Churchill but everyone else do what he desired.
    • 2013 June 29, “A punch in the gut”, The Economist, volume 407, number 8842, page 72-3: 
      Mostly, the microbiome is beneficial. It helps with digestion and enables people to extract a lot more calories from their food than would otherwise be possible. Research over the past few years, however, has implicated it in diseases from atherosclerosis to asthma to autism.
  2. (degree) To whatever degree.
    However clear you think you've been, many questions will remain.
  3. (manner) In whatever way.
    Let me know when you've had your interview, however it goes.
    • 2013 June 21, Oliver Burkeman, “The tao of tech”, The Guardian Weekly, volume 189, number 2, page 48: 
      But the real way to build a successful online business is to be better than your rivals at undermining people's control of their own attention. Partly, this is a result of how online advertising has traditionally worked: advertisers pay for clicks, and a click is a click, however it's obtained.
  4. (chiefly UK, as an intensified form in interrogatives) In what way?; how?
    However did you do that?

Usage notes[edit]

  • (nevertheless): Strunk and White’s The Elements of Style argues that the adverb however, in its sense of nevertheless, should be avoided at the beginning of a sentence.


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  1. In whatever manner (that).
    Do it however you want.
  2. To whatever extent.
    However far he may get, there'll be many that get further.
    However much you prepare for the exam, there will still be a few questions on which you won't be sure of the answer.
  3. (proscribed) Although, though, but, yet.

Usage notes[edit]

  • (although): The use of however as a conjunction meaning "but" is identical to its use as a clause-initial adverb meaning "nevertheless", except in punctuation (when written) and in prosody (when spoken). Hence, the following proscribed sentence:

    (proscribed) He told me not to do it, however I did it.

    is equivalent to the following accepted one:

    (accepted) He told me not to do it; however, I did it.

    In particular, when used as a conjunction in this sense, however always appears between the clauses it connects; it does not introduce a true subordinate clause that can be moved to the start of an independent clause, because a conjunctive adverb cannot do that.




  • however in Webster’s Revised Unabridged Dictionary, G. & C. Merriam, 1913
  • however” in Unabridged, v1.0.1, Lexico Publishing Group, 2006.
  • however” in Microsoft's Encarta World English Dictionary, North American Edition (2007)
  • "however (degree)" in Cambridge Advanced Learner's Dictionary (Cambridge University Press, 2007)
  • "however (despite)" in Cambridge Advanced Learner's Dictionary (Cambridge University Press, 2007)
  • "however (way)" in Cambridge Advanced Learner's Dictionary (Cambridge University Press, 2007)
  • however” in the Compact Oxford English Dictionary (Oxford University Press, 2007)
  • Oxford English Dictionary, second edition (1989)
  • Random House Webster's Unabridged Electronic Dictionary (1987-1996)