There are 2 main definitions of how in English:

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how 1

Pronunciation: /hou/


[usually interrogative adverb]
1In what way or manner; by what means: how does it work? he did not know how he ought to behave [with infinitive]: he showed me how to adjust the focus
More example sentences
  • No more is said in that witness statement as to precisely how or in what manner service had been effected.
  • It is not clear from the available data how these findings ought to be interpreted.
  • Such checks require that we choose what to monitor, when to monitor, and how to adjust treatment.
2Used to ask about the condition or quality of something: how was your vacation? how did they play?
More example sentences
  • How are things going?
  • How are your kids doing when it comes to social graces at the dinner table?
2.1Used to ask about someone’s physical or mental state: how are the children? I asked how he was doing
More example sentences
  • How Is Your Inner Child?
  • How are you doing? I had a friend ask me that simple question today, and I wasn't really able to answer it.
3 [with adjective or adverb] Used to ask about the extent or degree of something: how old are you? how long will it take? I wasn’t sure how fast to go
More example sentences
  • There is a political question about how fast fares ought to be allowed to rise.
  • You'd be forced to hook up with all manner of unsuitable partners just to show how popular you are.
  • After the initial shock, he was surprised to find out how easily he adjusted to it.
3.1Used to express a strong feeling such as surprise about the extent of something: how kind it was of him how I wish I had been there!
More example sentences
  • How I wish I could always see my children the way I do today.
  • How I wish I had my childhood back!
4 [relative adverb] The way in which; that: she told us how she had lived out of a suitcase for a week
More example sentences
  • It's amazing how you can see the personality of the examiner coming out in the tests.
  • It is amazing how we can all be so familiar with something and not know its history or its origin.
  • Could that be done in this case without telling juries how they ought to go about fact finding?
4.1In any way in which; however: I’ll do business how I like
More example sentences
  • Because he had been head teacher for so long he had obtained the mentality the school was his and he could run it how he liked.
  • I just want to do it how I like thanks.
  • I do what I want to do and do it how I like to do it.



and how!

informal Very much so (used to express strong agreement): “Did you miss me?” “And how!”
More example sentences
  • ‘This'll do for a start… ‘The Grinch said, ‘and how!’
  • LaBute was thrilled - ‘people were listening and responding and how!’

here's how!

dated Said when drinking to someone’s health.

how about

1Used to make a suggestion or offer: how about a drink?
More example sentences
  • If there are problems as this man states how about offering solutions instead of criticism?
  • There are bigger and better storage systems than you'll see here, and if you have them at work, how about offering me a job?
  • If they want to make racing more exciting and slow speeds then how about these suggestions.
2Used when asking for information or an opinion on something: how about your company?
More example sentences
  • Even if it's too late for this Christmas, how about a New Year resolution to do at least 20 minutes' exercise three times a week.
  • Or how about editing and simplifying the entire physical universe?
  • If one set of masts may be safe, how about two or three?

the how and why

The methods and reasons for doing something: tonight’s edition demystifies the how and why of television ratings
More example sentences
  • To find out the how and why - and whether - we have to go further back, to the 1880s, when London's and Europe's intellectuals were beset with doubt and anomie.
  • That confidence has to be regained, and lengthy explanations about the how and why of Manila's response to the hostage crisis won't be enough.
  • When I had finished reading the letter I was no more informed of the how and why of it all than when I'd stepped off onto the platform, but at least I knew the order of play now.

how come?

see come.

how do?

An informal greeting.
Example sentences
  • He wrote: "In instructing its Yorkshire public what not to do if meeting The Queen at the races, it warned: a cheery:" How do, missus? '
  • She greets nearly everyone with warm intimacy, calls "How do?"

how do you do?

A formal greeting.
Example sentences
  • ‘There hasn't even been a preliminary ‘Hey, how do you do?’
  • In Eliza's first venture into polite company, she comes off as an automaton relegated to a handful of standard phrases and topics: the weather, people's health and ‘how do you do?’
  • He used to kick off his act with ‘Hello, playmates, how do you do?’

how many

What number: how many books did you sell?
More example sentences
  • Among other things, it can be used to find how many days old you are and the weekday you were born.
  • On Unix systems, there is a limit set in the kernel on how many open file descriptors are allowed on the system.
  • We would like to know how many calls does it take to evaluate the n th Fibonacci number if we follow the given recurrence.

how much

What amount or price: just how much did it cost?
More example sentences
  • A company's decision on how much to give to charity can be influenced by its annual profit levels, long-term strategic giving goals, business priorities, and a host of other factors.
  • Tell us how much you make, how much you've got for a downpayment, and your debt, and find out how far to stretch when home hunting.
  • Mass is a measure of how much inertia an object displays.

how now?

archaic What is the meaning of this?
Example sentences
  • How now? A rat? Dead, for a ducat, dead
  • How now, a conduit, girl?

how so?

How can you show that that is so?
Example sentences
  • ‘So I didn't know you knew his dorm room,’ I grinned, ignoring the flush rising up his face I continued. ‘In fact you seem to know him and his room fairly comfortably, how so?’
  • No. All I did was approach her casually, and say, ‘Really, how so?’
  • Her forehead wrinkled in puzzlement, ‘Oh, how so?’

how's that for ——?

Isn’t that a remarkable instance of ——? how’s that for stereotypical thinking?
More example sentences
  • How's that for saving memory?
  • How's That For Customer Service!
  • Maybe I won't give you any dessert, how's that?


Old English ; related to Dutch hoe, also to who and what.

Words that rhyme with how

allow, avow, Bilbao, Bissau, bough, bow, bow-wow, brow, cacao, chow, ciao, cow, dhow, Dow, endow, Foochow, Frau, Hangzhou, Hough, Howe, kowtow, Lao, Liao, Macao, Macau, miaow, Mindanao, mow, now, ow, Palau, plough (US plow), pow, prow, row, scow, Slough, sough, sow, Tao, thou, vow, wow, Yangshao

For editors and proofreaders

Syllabification: how

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There are 2 main definitions of how in English:

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how 2

Pronunciation: /hou/


A greeting attributed to North American Indians (used in humorous imitation).


Early 19th century: perhaps from Sioux háo or Omaha hou.

For editors and proofreaders

Syllabification: how

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