how

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

English[edit]

English Wikipedia has an article on:
Wikipedia

Alternative forms[edit]

Pronunciation[edit]

  • enPR: hou, IPA(key): /haʊ/
  • (file)
  • (file)
  • Rhymes: -aʊ

Etymology 1[edit]

From Middle English how, hou, hu, hwu, from Old English , from Proto-Germanic *hwō, from the same root as hwæt (who, what). /hw/ > /h/ due to wh-cluster reduction in Old English; compare who, which underwent this change later, and thus is spelt wh (Middle English spelling of /hw/) but pronounced /h/ (it previously had a different vowel, hence avoided the spelling and sound change in Old English). Vowel change per Great Vowel Shift.

Akin to Scots hoo, foo (how), Saterland Frisian wo (how), West Frisian hoe (how), Low German ho, wo, wu (how), Dutch hoe (how), German wie (how), Swedish hur (how). See who and compare why.

Adverb[edit]

how (not comparable)

  1. To what degree or extent.
    How often do you practice?
    The gauge indicated how hot the oven was.
    • 1897 December (indicated as 1898), Winston Churchill, chapter IV, in The Celebrity: An Episode, New York, N.Y.: The Macmillan Company; London: Macmillan & Co., Ltd., OCLC 222716698, page 46:
      No matter how early I came down, I would find him on the veranda, smoking cigarettes, or otherwise his man would be there with a message to say that his master would shortly join me if I would kindly wait.
    • 2013, Diane Sullivan Everstine, Louis Everstine, Strategic Interventions for People in Crisis, Trauma, and Disaster: Revised Edition, Routledge (→ISBN)
      How damaged is her self-esteem?
  2. In what manner:
    • 2013 August 3, “Boundary problems”, in The Economist, volume 408, number 8847:
      Economics is a messy discipline: too fluid to be a science, too rigorous to be an art. Perhaps it is fitting that economists’ most-used metric, gross domestic product (GDP), is a tangle too. [] But as a foundation for analysis it is highly subjective: it rests on difficult decisions about what counts as a territory, what counts as output and how to value it. Indeed, economists are still tweaking it.
    1. By what means.
      How do you solve this puzzle?
      How else can we get this finished?
      She showed him how to do it.
    2. With overtones of why, for what reason.
      How should I know whether he likes raisins or not? Ask him!
    3. In what form, shape, measure, quantity, etc.
      • 1831, Nicolas Wanostrocht, A Grammar of the French Language: With Practical Exercises, page 372:
        How do you sell your brandy?   We sell it by the gallon, and not by the bottle.
      • 2005, Tim Stafford, Knowing the Face of God, Revised Edition: Deepening Your Personal Relationship with God, Wipf and Stock Publishers (→ISBN), page 191:
        How does God appear in these religions? Hinduism has a thousand faces for God, some likable, some horrible. You can pick and choose your preferred image. Buddhism does not even have an image of God, but concentrates on man.
    4. With what meaning or effect.
      How the stock market interprets events has real consequences.
      • 1906, Gibbons Stamp Weekly, page 110:
        A heap of stamps? Yes. Stamps they were indeed, hundreds of penny Queen's Heads neatly mounted on the original sheets. "Good God!" exclaimed Mr. Erskine as he turned to Mr. Sackville, "how am I to take this, sir?" said he severely. "Where are the real stamps? Were they ever inside, ever in your possession at all? If it is a joke, it is a very poor one."
    5. By what title or what name.
      • 1907, Edward Byles Cowell, The Jātaka: Or, Stories of the Buddha's Former Births, page 44:
        "How art thou called? Thy name make known; Thy father's name and family,—tell me thy father's and thine own."
      • 2015, Edmond H. Weiss, The Elements of International English Style: A Guide to Writing Correspondence, Reports, Technical Documents, and Internet Pages for a Global Audience, Routledge (→ISBN), page 111:
        Salutation—How does one address the recipient; what titles, greetings, and honorifics are preferred; how does one manage the problem of unknown gender; []
    6. At what price, for what amount (of money).
  3. In what state or condition.
    How are you?
    How was your vacation?
  4. Used as a modifier to indicate surprise, delight, or other strong feelings in an exclamation.
    How very interesting!
    How wonderful it was to receive your invitation.
    • 1973, “Yesterday Once More”, in Now & Then, performed by the Carpenters:
      Those were such happy times and not so long ago / How I wondered where they'd gone
    • 2021 July 7, Phil McNulty, “England 2-1 Denmark”, in BBC Sport[1]:
      How England had to fight for victory against this steely Denmark with an inspired keeper in Kasper Schmeichel, especially after conceding their first goal of the tournament to Mikkel Damsgaard's stunning free-kick after 30 minutes.
Usage notes[edit]
  • See usage notes on else (adverb).
  • How good is it? means "To what extent is it good?", whereas How is it good? means "In what manner is it good?". Likewise, I know how good it is means "I know the extent to which it is good", whereas I know how it is good means "I know the manner in which it is good".
Derived terms[edit]
Translations[edit]

Conjunction[edit]

how

  1. The manner or way in which.
    I remember how I solved this puzzle.
  2. In any way in which; in whatever way; however.
    People should be free to live how they want.
  3. That, the fact that.
    She told me how her father was a doctor.
Translations[edit]

Noun[edit]

how (plural hows or how's)

  1. The means by which something is accomplished.
    I am not interested in the why, but in the how.
    • 1924, Joseph Rickaby, Studies on God and His Creatures, page 102:
      It is an a posteriori argument, evincing the fact, but not the how.
    • 2008 March 21, The New York Times, “Movie Guide and Film Series”, in New York Times[2]:
      A wham-bam caper flick, efficiently directed by Roger Donaldson, that fancifully revisits the mysterious whos and speculative hows of a 1971 London bank heist.

Etymology 2[edit]

From Middle English howe, hough, hogh, partly from Old English hōh (promontory), and partly from Old Norse haugr (a how, mound). Compare Old French höe (hillock, hill), from the same Germanic source.

Noun[edit]

how (plural hows)

  1. (dialectal) An artificial barrow or tumulus.
  2. (dialectal) A small hill in northern England. (Usage preserved mainly in place names.)

Etymology 3[edit]

English Wikipedia has an article on:
Wikipedia

From a Siouan language; compare Lakota háu. Alternatively from Wyandot haau.

Alternative forms[edit]

Interjection[edit]

how

  1. A greeting, used in representations of Native American speech.

References[edit]

Anagrams[edit]


Abau[edit]

Pronunciation[edit]

Noun[edit]

how

  1. taro

Alabama[edit]

Etymology[edit]

(This etymology is missing or incomplete. Please add to it, or discuss it at the Etymology scriptorium.)

Pronunciation[edit]

Phonetik.svg This entry needs pronunciation information. If you are familiar with the IPA then please add some!

Adverb[edit]

how

  1. yes

Synonyms[edit]


Lower Sorbian[edit]

Pronunciation[edit]

Adverb[edit]

how

  1. here

Further reading[edit]

  • Muka, Arnošt (1921, 1928), “how”, in Słownik dolnoserbskeje rěcy a jeje narěcow (in German), St. Petersburg, Prague: ОРЯС РАН, ČAVU; Reprinted Bautzen: Domowina-Verlag, 2008
  • Starosta, Manfred (1999), “how”, in Dolnoserbsko-nimski słownik / Niedersorbisch-deutsches Wörterbuch (in German), Bautzen: Domowina-Verlag

Middle English[edit]

Etymology 1[edit]

From Old English , from Proto-West Germanic *hwō, from Proto-Germanic *hwō.

Alternative forms[edit]

Pronunciation[edit]

Adverb[edit]

how

  1. how
Descendants[edit]
  • English: how
    • Northumbrian: hoo
  • Scots: hoo, how, foo
  • Yola: fowe, how

Conjunction[edit]

how

  1. how
Descendants[edit]

References[edit]

Etymology 2[edit]

Noun[edit]

how

  1. Alternative form of hough (promontory)

Yola[edit]

Adverb[edit]

how

  1. Alternative form of fowe
    • 1867, GLOSSARY OF THE DIALECT OF FORTH AND BARGY:
      How yarthe to-die, mee joee?
      How art thou to-day, my joy?

References[edit]

  • Jacob Poole (1867), William Barnes, editor, A Glossary, With some Pieces of Verse, of the old Dialect of the English Colony in the Baronies of Forth and Bargy, County of Wexford, Ireland, London: J. Russell Smith, page 80