how

See also: How

English

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Alternative forms

Pronunciation

Etymology 1

From Middle English how, hou, hu, hwu, 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

how (not comparable)

  1. (interrogative) To what degree.
    How often do you practice?
    • 1898, Winston Churchill, chapter 4, in The Celebrity:
      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.
  2. (interrogative) In what manner.
    How do you solve this puzzle?   How else can we get this finished?
    • 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.
  3. (interrogative) In what state.
    How are you?
    How was your vacation?
    • 2016, VOA Learning English (public domain)
      How's the new apartment? — The new apartment is great!
      (file)
  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.
Usage notes
  • 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
Translations

Noun

how (plural hows)

  1. The means by which something is accomplished.
    I am not interested in the why, but in the how.
    How did you know it was me?
    • 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[1]:
      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.

Conjunction

how

  1. In which way; in such way.
    I remember how to solve this puzzle.
  2. That, the fact that, the way that.
Translations

Etymology 2

From Old Norse haugr.

Noun

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

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

Alternative forms

Interjection

how

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

References

Anagrams


Abau

Pronunciation

Noun

how

  1. taro

Alabama

Etymology

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

Pronunciation

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

Adverb

how

  1. yes

Synonyms


Lower Sorbian

Pronunciation

Adverb

how

  1. here