Main definitions of how in English

: how1how2

how1

adverb

  • 1In what way or manner; by what means.

    ‘how does it work?’
    ‘he did not know how he ought to behave’
    [with infinitive] ‘he showed me how to adjust the focus’
    • ‘But if they do behave in that way there is no need to tell them that that is how they ought to behave.’
    • ‘Would he allow the Fed to be told how to adjust interest rates by a bumbling Dutchman?’
    • ‘Gordon had not caught the man's name, and was unsure how to ask in a polite manner.’
    • ‘Case law can also be more specific than general comments on how provisions ought to be understood.’
    • ‘The very basis of government after all, is subjective views on how things ought to be.’
    • ‘This is not only the best single book on the subject but a model of how military history ought to be written.’
    • ‘If we cannot even accept these criticisms, how can we claim to be a country of manners?’
    • ‘He observed that we had built a picture of ourselves that was based on an abstracted picture of how we ought to be.’
    • ‘The people who ran the club before didn't have any knowledge of how a club should be run in a professional manner.’
    • ‘We may not get to choose how we go, but we can definitely choose the manner in which we are waved goodbye.’
    • ‘There is a distinction to be made between doing science and thinking about how science ought to be done.’
    • ‘Science engages with busy minds that have strong views about how things are and ought to be.’
    • ‘No more is said in that witness statement as to precisely how or in what manner service had been effected.’
    • ‘Tell me how I can get clear land title in a transparent manner, and I am ready to do it.’
    • ‘It is not clear from the available data how these findings ought to be interpreted.’
    • ‘Such checks require that we choose what to monitor, when to monitor, and how to adjust treatment.’
    • ‘I watched an equine chiropractor give a horse an adjustment and show us how to fit a saddle.’
    • ‘This is a book that ought to be read to understand how women today got much of what they take for granted.’
    • ‘One further question: how would you word the abstract in a more objective manner?’
    • ‘There is a terrible feeling of being told by other people how we ought to lead our lives.’
  • 2Used to ask about the condition or quality of something.

    ‘how was your holiday?’
    ‘how did they play?’
    • ‘How are things going?’
    • ‘How are your kids doing when it comes to social graces at the dinner table?’
    1. 2.1Used to ask about someone's physical or mental state.
      ‘how are the children?’
      ‘I asked how he was doing’
      • ‘How Is Your Inner Child?’
      • ‘How are you doing? I had a friend ask me that simple question today, and I wasn't really able to answer it.’
  • 3[with adjective or adverb] Used to ask about the extent or degree of something.

    ‘how old are you?’
    ‘how long will it take?’
    ‘I wasn't sure how fast to go’
    • ‘It was only once Kate had been x-rayed that doctors realised how serious her condition was.’
    • ‘She made a mental note of how close the school was to the grocery store and Subway.’
    • ‘We have a robust clinical priority system for our operators to identify how serious the condition is.’
    • ‘There is a political question about how fast fares ought to be allowed to rise.’
    • ‘You'd be forced to hook up with all manner of unsuitable partners just to show how popular you are.’
    • ‘I was worried about how physically exhausting and painful it was going to be.’
    • ‘The aim is for me to black out under controlled conditions and see how fast I recover.’
    • ‘Any trip, to any record store will prove how little material of quality there is.’
    • ‘For example, they propose trustworthiness as a criterion of how good a qualitative study is.’
    • ‘It's amazing how difficult it is to get a proper physical massage when you want one.’
    • ‘As I was a single, childless young male, I was not told just how serious my condition was.’
    • ‘First, even the experts today cannot agree on how common various intersex conditions are.’
    • ‘Follow up is commonly too short to show how often the condition relapses or late complications arise.’
    • ‘I would like to point out to your readers that people in general do not realise how serious this condition is.’
    • ‘It's only when they go on holiday that you realise how oppressed their constant presence makes you feel.’
    • ‘He will do so irrespective of how atrocious conditions may become throughout a Scottish winter.’
    • ‘For common conditions, how appropriate and effective are the services we offer?’
    • ‘Sometimes I think we get carried away in our part of the world with how big and physical we are.’
    • ‘That's amazing when you think about how physically demanding the game is nowadays.’
    • ‘After the initial shock, he was surprised to find out how easily he adjusted to it.’
    1. 3.1Used to express a strong feeling such as surprise about the extent of something.
      ‘how kind it was of him’
      ‘how I wish I had been there!’
      • ‘How I wish I had my childhood back!’
      • ‘How I wish I could always see my children the way I do today.’
  • 4[relative adverb] The way in which; that.

    ‘she told us how she had lived out of a suitcase for a week’
    • ‘I think how you mentally survive the awfulness if you're sensitive of the situation.’
    • ‘I blush to think how the quality of my tv viewing has declined over the last few months.’
    • ‘What was not fully understood at the time was how the quality of the armed forces had fallen.’
    • ‘It is amazing how we can all be so familiar with something and not know its history or its origin.’
    • ‘In order to keep his wife happy, he reminds her how it resembles their holiday home on the Caspian.’
    • ‘It is surprising how people in the West have such a narrow viewpoint on this matter.’
    • ‘It is surprising how a little bit of research goes a long way towards solving an issue.’
    • ‘She described how the dreadful conditions and challenges of the trip had used all her mental reserves.’
    • ‘It is surprising how you can do a cover story on a game that is played by only a few.’
    • ‘Roll on the summer holidays and watch how realism sets into the polls on the euro.’
    • ‘This is also an example of how the physician influenced household remedies at times.’
    • ‘His attitude showed how domestic violence can be as damaging mentally as it is physically.’
    • ‘A family told today how their dream holiday on a cruise liner turned into a nightmare.’
    • ‘Crouch glanced at his partner and he may have reflected how their differences are more than physical.’
    • ‘We will see shortly how this conception of theoretical entities applies to mental events.’
    • ‘I tell her that I'm surprised how the mix of sketch and drama works in the show.’
    • ‘Even our people in Japan have been surprised by how we have cut through the red tape.’
    • ‘It's amazing how you can see the personality of the examiner coming out in the tests.’
    • ‘Could that be done in this case without telling juries how they ought to go about fact finding?’
    • ‘It is easy to see how force-dynamic interactions apply to domains other than the physical.’
    1. 4.1In any way in which; however.
      ‘I'll do business how I like’
      • ‘I do what I want to do and do it how I like to do it.’
      • ‘I just want to do it how I like thanks.’
      • ‘Because he had been head teacher for so long he had obtained the mentality the school was his and he could run it how he liked.’

Origin

Old English hū, of West Germanic origin; related to Dutch hoe, also to who and what.

Pronunciation:

how

/haʊ/

Main definitions of how in English

: how1how2

how2

exclamation

  • A greeting attributed to North American Indians (used in humorous imitation).

Origin

Early 19th century: perhaps from Sioux háo or Omaha hou.

Pronunciation:

how

/haʊ/