Dictionary > English Dictionary > Definition, synonym and antonym of how
Meaning of how by Wiktionary Dictionary



    • IPA: /haʊ/, X-SAMPA: /haU/
    • Rhymes: -aʊ

    Etymology 1

    Middle English how, hou, hu, hwu, Old English hū, from Proto-Germanic *hwō, from the same root as hwæt ( “who, what” ). Akin to Old Saxon huo ( Low German wo ), hū, Dutch hoe, compare German wie ( “how” ). See who and compare why .


    how ( not comparable )

    1. To what degree .
      How often do you practice?
    2. In what manner .
      How do you solve this puzzle?
      How else can we get this finished?
    3. Used as a modifier to indicate surprise, delight, or other strong feelings .
      How very interesting!
      How wonderful it was to receive your invitation .
    Usage notes
    Derived terms


    how ( not comparable )

    1. In what state .
      How are you?
      How was your vacation?


    how ( plural: hows )

    1. The means by which something is accomplished .
      I am not interested in the why, but in the how .



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

    Etymology 2

    From a Siouan language, compare Lakota háu .



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

    Etymology 3

    From Old Norse haugr .


    how ( plural: hows )

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

    See also

    • how in Webster’s Revised Unabridged Dictionary, G. & C. Merriam, 1913
    • “how” in Dictionary.com Unabridged, v1.0.1, Lexico Publishing Group, 2006 .



    • who, WHO

Definition of how by GCIDE Dictionary


  1. How adv. [OE. how, hou, hu, hwu, AS. h, from the same root as hwā, hwæt, who, what, pron. interrog.; akin to OS. hwōw, D. hoe, cf. G. wie how, Goth. hwē wherewith, hwaiwa how. √182. See Who, and cf. Why.]
    1. In what manner or way; by what means or process.

    How can a man be born when he is old? John iii. 4.

    2. To what degree or extent, number or amount; in what proportion; by what measure or quality.

    O, how love I thy law! it is my meditation all the day. Ps. cxix. 97.

    By how much they would diminish the present extent of the sea, so much they would impair the fertility, and fountains, and rivers of the earth. Bentley.

    3. For what reason; from what cause.

    How now, my love! why is your cheek so pale? Shak.

    4. In what state, condition, or plight.

    How, and with what reproach, shall I return? Dryden.

    5. By what name, designation, or title.

    How art thou called? Shak.

    6. At what price; how dear. [Obs.]

    How a score of ewes now? Shak.

    ☞ How is used in each sense, interrogatively, interjectionally, and relatively; it is also often employed to emphasize an interrogation or exclamation. “How are the mighty fallen!” 2 Sam. i. 27. Sometimes, also, it is used as a noun; -- as, the how, the when, the wherefore. Shelley.

    Let me beg you -- don't say “How?” for “What?” Holmes.