1 [hou]
in what way or manner; by what means?: How did the accident happen?
to what extent, degree, etc.?: How damaged is the car?
in what state or condition?: How are you?
for what reason; why?: How can you talk such nonsense?
to what effect; with what meaning?: How is one to interpret his action?
what?: How do you mean? If they don't have vanilla, how about chocolate?
(used as an intensifier): How seldom I go there!
by what title or name?: How does one address the president?
at what price: How are the new cars going, cheaper than last year's models?
by what amount or in what measure or quantity?: How do you sell these tomatoes?
in what form or shape?: How does the demon appear in the first act of the opera? How does the medication come?
the manner or way in which: He couldn't figure out how to solve the problem.
about the manner, condition, or way in which: I don't care how you leave your desk when you go. Be careful how you act.
in whatever manner or way; however: You can travel how you please.
Informal. that: He told us how he was honest and could be trusted.
a question concerning the way or manner in which something is done, achieved, etc.: a child's unending whys and hows.
a way or manner of doing something: to consider all the hows and wherefores.
a word formerly used in communications to represent the letter H.
and how!, Informal. certainly! you bet!: Am I happy? And how!
Here's how, Informal. (used as a toast).
how come?, Informal. how is it that? why?: How come you never visit us anymore?
how so?, how does it happen to be so? why?: You haven't any desire to go? How so?

before 900; Middle English how, hu, Old English hū; cognate with Old Frisian hū, ho, Dutch hoe; akin to German wie (Old High German hweo), Gothic hwaiwa Unabridged


2 [hou]
interjection Facetious.
(used as a greeting in imitation of American Indian speech.)

1810–20; of uncertain origin


3 [hou]
noun, adjective Scot. and North England. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
Cite This Source Link To how
World English Dictionary
how1 (haʊ)
1.  in what way? in what manner? by what means?: how did it happen? Also used in indirect questions: tell me how he did it
2.  to what extent?: how tall is he?
3.  how good? how well? what…like?: how did she sing?; how was the holiday?
4.  how about? used to suggest something: how about asking her?; how about a cup of tea?
5.  how are you? what is your state of health?
6.  informal how come? what is the reason (that)?: how come you told him?
7.  how's that for…?
 a.  is this satisfactory as regards…?: how's that for size?
 b.  an exclamation used to draw attention to a quality, deed, etc: how is that for endurance?
8.  how's that?
 a.  what is your opinion?
 b.  cricket Also written: howzat (an appeal to the umpire) is the batsman out?
9.  archaic how now?, how so? what is the meaning of this?
10.  not standard Also: as how that: he told me as how the shop was closed
11.  in whatever way: do it how you wish
12.  used in exclamations to emphasize extent: how happy I was!
13.  ( intensifier ) and how! very much so!
14.  here's how! (as a toast) good health!
15.  the way a thing is done: the how of it
[Old English hu; related to Old Frisian hū, Old High German hweo]

how2 (haʊ)
sentence substitute
a greeting supposed to be or have been used by American Indians and often used humorously
[C19: of Siouan origin; related to Dakota háo]

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition
2009 © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009
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Word Origin & History

O.E. hu, from W.Gmc. *khwo- (cf. O.S. hwo, O.Fris., M.Du. hu, Du. hoe, Ger. wie, Goth. hvaiwa "how"), from common PIE interrogative pronomial stem. However is M.E.; how come? for "why?" is recorded from 1848. And how! emphatic, first recorded 1865, said to be a Ger.-Amer. colloquialism.

Native American greeting, Siouxan (cf. Dakota hao, Omaha hau); first recorded 1817 in Eng, but noted early 17c. by Fr. missionary Jean de Brebeuf among Hurons as an expression of approval (1636).
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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American Heritage
Abbreviations & Acronyms
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The American Heritage® Abbreviations Dictionary, Third Edition
Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Company.
Published by Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved.
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American Heritage
Idioms & Phrases


In addition to the idioms beginning with how, also see and how.

The American Heritage® Dictionary of Idioms by Christine Ammer.
Copyright © 1997. Published by Houghton Mifflin.
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Example sentences
Better understand the need for clean energy and learn how to be part of the solution.
See how to get the look of built-in floating shelves, with less cost and more flexibility.
How to grow and arrange a hydrangea wedding bouquet.
Idioms & Phrases
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