Definition from Wiktionary, the free dictionary
Jump to: navigation, search


TK archive icon.svg

The following discussion has been moved from Wiktionary:Requests for cleanup.

This discussion is no longer live and is left here as an archive. Please do not modify this conversation, but feel free to discuss its conclusions.


The usage notes say, “Never use however when you mean to say but.” We should only include such proscriptions if they are backed by references. If retained, the wording should show that third parties denounce the usage instead of give the impression that the English Wiktionary proscribes it. Rod (A. Smith) 21:47, 21 September 2007 (UTC)


The "Adverb" section has this: (degree) To whatever degree. / However clear you think you've been, many questions will remain. And below, the "Conjunction" section has this: To whatever extent. However far he may get, there'll be many that get further. For me that's absolutely the same thing, whether you call it "extent" or "degree." I'm not yet sure what to remove; but one of them MUST be removed, since either the former does not show the adverbial use, or the latter does not show the conjunctional use. -andy 10:13, 5 February 2011 (UTC)

I have the same reaction as andy. Any follow-up on this? To me, "however" in "Dress however you like" is clearly an adverb; I don't see any possibility for debate on this. I see that the print edition of the American Heritage Dictionary also calls it a conjunction in this case, but it seems to me that that might be ... um ... a mistake. 16:25, 4 August 2013 (UTC)

See WT:RFC#however. I think the Adverb and the Conjunction part-of-speech sections are both valid, but the senses are assigned to them in such a random way that you really can't make sense of which is which. Chuck Entz (talk) 21:53, 4 August 2013 (UTC)
Allow me to offer this, since the discussion seems to have gone nowhere in the last two years. If you can replace "however" in a sentence with "no matter how" then it's an adverb, always. If you can replace it with "but" then it's a conjunction. If you can replace it with "nevertheless" the decision is tricky and will depend on whether you believe that English can have conjunctions in non-clause-initial position. If you can't replace it with any of these things, it's a mistake. (The example of "However did you do that?" is an example of an error, when the correct sentence, especially in British usage, ought to be "How ever did you do that?" The proof of this is that the 'ever' part of "however" in this case is moveable. You can say "How did you ever do that?" On the other hand, in correct usages of "however," you cannot move the "ever." Sentences like "Let me know what happens, how it ever goes" are not licensed.) I'm going to clean up the definitions in lines with these considerations. If a registered editor finds them acceptable, then I hope they will stay and perhaps the article can be delisted from RFC. 17:52, 10 June 2015 (UTC)

Missing meaning?[edit]

I think "In whatever way" should be a further, distinct meaning. Like when you say: "however things may turn out...". Or check this example: "However you mean it, saying “Your children have touched me and I’m pretty sure I’ve touched them too” is never a wise thing to say when you’ve been pretending to be a supply teacher and are stood in front of some shocked parents."

I think the first sense in the 'Conjunction' section covers that. What do you think? Also, remember to sign your posts with ~~~~. --Μετάknowledgediscuss/deeds 01:03, 20 July 2012 (UTC)
I disagree. Also looked up another dictionary where it is different (see sense#1 there). Actually, it seems totally clear to me but I am not a native speaker while I guess for native speakers meanings that have evolved from each other may overlap. For me, the current conjunctive sense (sense#1) is synonymous with "but"; not necessarily implying that many ways were tried or could be tried in order to reach another conclusion, but to no avail. E.g. one can say "Mangos are delicious; however, they are expensive." without contemplating ways or manners (maybe you do consider degrees - of deliciousness -, which appears to me as an etimologycal link). By the way, I'd even tag sense#1 with word class conjunction (like here, again). Regarding the new meaning I suggest, I feel a clear emphasis on the how element. (Sorry for the missing signature, I am not a frequent editor.) --Providus (talk) 21:06, 20 July 2012 (UTC)

1914 Century[edit]

The 1914 Century Dictionary defines the word as follows:

however [...], adv. and conj. [< how1 + ever, in its indef. generalizing use. Not in M.E.; cf. howsoever.]
I. adv.
1. In whatever manner; to whatever extent or degree: as, however badly or rudely one may act; however distant from the starting point. [...]
2†. At all events; in any case; by any means. [...] Our chief end is to be freed from all, if it may be, however from the greatest evils. [...]
II. conj. Nevertheless; notwithstanding; yet; still: as, a costly article, which, however, is worth the price.

- -sche (discuss) 19:19, 10 June 2015 (UTC)