how do you do

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Alternative forms[edit]


  • (file)


how do you do?

  1. (formal) A greeting used upon being introduced to someone. Alternatives are how are you, pleased to meet you, and nice to meet you. (Sometimes used as a rhetorical question among familiar parties, depending on the region).
    • 1913, Eleanor H. Porter, chapter 8, in Pollyanna[1], L.C. Page, →OCLC:
      "How do you do?" began Pollyanna politely. "I'm from Miss Polly Harrington, and I'd like to see Mrs. Snow, please."

Usage notes[edit]

In obsolete usage, this phrase could be inflected: I asked him how he did.

Related terms[edit]



how do you do (plural how do you dos)

  1. (UK, euphemistic) A difficult situation
    • 1993, Nick Park, Wallace and Gromit: The Wrong Trousers:
      Well, this is a fine how do you do isn't it, Gromit?
    • 2010, Michael Sledge, The More I Owe You: A Novel, Counterpoint Press, →ISBN, page 78:
      On the winding road to Petropolis, they did not speak, not about modernism or the construction of houses or antique bird jails or fine how-do-you-dos.
    • 2013, Chris Raschka, Seriously, Norman!, Scholastic Inc., →ISBN, page 115:
      "Vienna!" Mr. B. went on. "This is a bit of a how-do-you-do, is it not?"