Definitions

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

  • adv. In what manner or way; by what means: How does this machine work?
  • adv. In what state or condition: How is she today?
  • adv. To what extent, amount, or degree: How bad was it?
  • adv. For what reason or purpose; why: How is it that he left early?
  • adv. With what meaning: How should I take that remark?
  • adv. By what name: How is she called?
  • adv. By what measure; in what units: How do you sell this corn?
  • adv. What. Usually used in requesting that something be said again: How's that again?
  • adv. Used as an intensive: How we laughed!
  • conj. The manner or way in which: forgot how it was done.
  • conj. That.
  • conj. In whatever way or manner; however: Cook it how you please.
  • n. A manner or method of doing something: "The how of research is generated by the why of the world” ( Frederick Turner).
  • idiom and how Informal Most certainly; you bet: She's a good dancer, and how!
  • idiom how about What is your thought, feeling, or desire regarding: How about a cup of tea? How about that storm last night?
  • idiom how about that Informal Used rhetorically to express surprise or wonder at or approval for something.
  • idiom how come Informal How is it that; why: How come you're so late?
  • idiom how so How is it so: You say the answer is wrong. How so?

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • interj. a greeting, used in representations of Native American speech
  • n. An artificial barrow or tumulus.
  • n. A small hill in northern England. (Usage preserved mainly in place names.)
  • adv. To what degree.
  • adv. In what manner.
  • adv. Used as a modifier to indicate surprise, delight, or other strong feelings.
  • adj. In what state.
  • n. The means by which something is accomplished.
  • conj. In which way; in such way.
  • conj. That, the fact that, the way that.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • adv. In what manner or way; by what means or process.
  • adv. To what degree or extent, number or amount; in what proportion; by what measure or quality.
  • adv. For what reason; from what cause.
  • adv. In what state, condition, or plight.
  • adv. By what name, designation, or title.
  • adv. At what price; how dear.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • 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.
  • n. The manner of doing or becoming; way.
  • n. A low hill: obsolete or dialectal, but retained in some place-names: as, Silver How, near Grasmere; Fox How.
  • Hollow; deep or low.
  • n. Any hollow place.
  • n. The hold of a ship.
  • n. A glen; a dell; also, a plain.
  • To care.
  • n. Care; anxiety.
  • Careful.
  • n. A Scotch form of houve.
  • A syllable of salutation among various tribes of American Indians.

Etymologies

Middle English howe, from Old English ; see kwo- in Indo-European roots.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
From a Siouan language, compare Lakota háu. (Wiktionary)
From Old Norse haugr. (Wiktionary)
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. (Wiktionary)

Examples

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