from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition.

  • adverb In what manner or way; by what means.
  • adverb In what state or condition.
  • adverb To what extent, amount, or degree.
  • adverb For what reason or purpose; why.
  • adverb With what meaning.
  • adverb By what name.
  • adverb By what measure; in what units.
  • adverb What. Usually used in requesting that something be said again.
  • adverb Used as an intensive.
  • conjunction The manner or way in which.
  • conjunction That.
  • conjunction In whatever way or manner; however.
  • noun A manner or method of doing something.
  • idiom (and how) Most certainly; you bet.
  • idiom (how about) Used to make a suggestion or to offer something.
  • idiom (how about) Used to request an opinion about something considered remarkable or impressive.
  • idiom (how about that) Used rhetorically to express surprise or wonder at or approval for something.
  • idiom (how come) How is it that; why.
  • idiom (how so) How is it so.

from The Century Dictionary.

  • noun A Scotch form of houve.
  • noun The manner of doing or becoming; way.
  • Careful.
  • noun Care; anxiety.
  • A syllable of salutation among various tribes of American Indians.
  • A. interrogative. In what way? in what manner?
  • By what means?—as, how did he do it? how did you come?
  • To what degree or extent? in what proportion or amount? by what measure or quantity?—qualifying an adverb or adjective of degree or quantity: as, how large was it? how far did you go? how many tickets did you get?
  • In this use often exclamatory in form and affirmative in meaning.
  • Such sentences also take in modern speech the affirmative form: as, how much better you are looking! how little you have changed! how stupid he is!
  • In what state, condition, or plight?
  • So colloquially, in reference to one's health or affairs: as, how do you do? how have you been? how's your family? he asked how you all were; how is business?
  • At what price?—as, how do you sell your potatoes? how is wheat going now?
  • For what reason ? why?
  • To what effect? what? — with regard to a thing said or asked about, as when one asks an opinion or a repetition of a thing said and not understood: equivalent to the simple what?—as, how say you, gentlemen of the jury? How used alone, instead of what, is chiefly colloquial.
  • With this use of how is connected its interjectional use, marking surprise, or being a mere greeting or call.
  • In this use often with now: as, how now! what are you doing?
  • B. relative. In what way; in what manner; the way or manner in which …: introducing a relative clause and performing the office of a conjunctional adverb.
  • By what means; the means by which.
  • To what degree or extent; in what proportion or amount; by what measure or quantity: qualifying an adverb or adjective: as, I do not know how large it is; I asked him how far he had traveled.
  • In what state, condition, or plight.
  • At what price: as, he inquired how the stocks were selling.
  • For what reason; why.
  • That: with reference to the manner, and also to the result: in objective clauses, after say, tell, relate, report, etc.
  • Especially in combination: How that, that.
  • As how, that.
  • To care.
  • Hollow; deep or low.
  • noun Any hollow place.
  • noun The hold of a ship.
  • noun A glen; a dell; also, a plain.


from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

[Middle English howe, from Old English ; see kwo- in Indo-European roots.]

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

From Old Norse haugr.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

From a Siouan language, compare Lakota háu.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

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


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