Definify.com

Webster 1913 Edition


How

How

,
adv.
[OE.
how
,
hou
,
hu
,
hwu
, AS.
h[GREEK]
, from the same root as
hwā
,
hwæt
, who, what, pron. interrog.; akin to OS.
hwō
w, 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?
Shakespeare
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?
Shakespeare
6.
At what price; how dear.
[Obs.]
How
a score of ewes now?
Shakespeare
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.

Webster 1828 Edition


How

HOW

,
adv.
In what manner. I know not how to answer.
How can a man be born when he is old?
How can these things be? John 3.
1.
To what degree or extent. How long shall we suffer these indignities? How much better is wisdom than gold!
O how love I thy law! How sweet are thy words to my taste. Ps.119.
2.
For what reason; from what cause.
How now, my love, why is your cheek so pale?
3.
By what means. How can this effect by produced?
4.
In what state.
How, and with what reproach shall I return!
5.
It is used in a sense marking proportion; as how much less; how much more.
Behold, he putteth no trust in his servants--how much less in them that dwell in houses of clay-- Job.4.
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.
6.
It is much used in exclamation.
How are the mighty fallen! 2 Sam.1.
7.
In some popular phrases, how is superfluous or inelegant.
Thick clouds put us in some hope of land; knowing how that part of the South Sea was utterly unknown.

Definition 2022


how

how

English

Alternative forms

Adverb

how (not comparable)

  1. To what degree.
    • 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.
    How often do you practice?
  2. In what manner.
    • 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.
    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.
  4. In what state.
    How are you?
    How was your vacation?
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.
    • 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:
      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 a Siouan language, compare Lakota háu. Alternatively from Wyandot haau.

Interjection

how!

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

Etymology 3

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.)

References

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

Statistics

Most common English words before 1923: through · himself · go · #118: how · long · am · way

Anagrams


Abau

Pronunciation

  • IPA(key): /hou/

Noun

how

  1. taro

Alabama

Adverb

how

  1. yes

Synonyms


Lower Sorbian

Pronunciation

  • IPA(key): [ow]

Adverb

how

  1. here