Definition of how-to in US English:

how-to

adjective

informal
  • attributive Providing detailed and practical advice.

    ‘read a how-to book’
    • ‘I asked him if he'd read any of Adams's how-to books on exposure, development, and printing.’
    • ‘There are solid how-to instructions like other books, and his includes sections on the legacy of African American literature and author profiles of legendary authors.’
    • ‘These resources could include information on physical activity and disease states, fitness information, active living tip sheets, how-to resources, and resources to assess and monitor physical activity.’
    • ‘In the US, for example, there is an abundance of colourful how-to books, which show step-by-step how to perform certain skills, from home wiring and plumbing, to landscape design and construction.’
    • ‘The tips are often random collections of articles licensed from how-to magazines and books.’
    • ‘Join or start a writing club, subscribe to an online writers' group, read how-to books by the pros, and grab a mentor wherever you can - someone to give you honest and personal feedback.’
    • ‘Many of the books about hunting and shooting are how-to books, whether they cover hunting, gunsmithing or other shooting sports-related topics.’
    • ‘I know, in the way that I know that Australia is moving north at the rate that our toe nails grow, that only 2% of people who buy how-to books or self-help books act on the advice of the book.’
    • ‘I'm looking for examples of factual books - preferably how-to books - that some readers read for the fun of imagining themselves using this knowledge.’
    • ‘This technique is popular in many self-help and how-to books.’
    • ‘But Vince has an escape: he retreats to his room, where he studies how-to disco dance books.’
    • ‘This book doesn't try to emulate other how-to books and avoids the pitfall of becoming mired in too many technical details.’
    • ‘No reporting or speculative essay has given as much of a glimpse of this future as this how-to book of basement biology.’
    • ‘This clear and concise how-to book would be a perfect resource for anyone involved with the raising of children.’
    • ‘The series will look at problems with the current industry, explore how family farms and local economies might play in a better model, and offer how-to advice for creating and sustaining that model.’
    • ‘There are a variety of plans available in how-to books, magazines and from building material suppliers.’
    • ‘They were mock-serious how-to books in rather academic style, purporting to tell you how to be one up on everyone else you came in contact with, whether in games and sports or in ordinary social interaction.’
    • ‘Teens can also learn how to make illegal drugs; plenty of Web sites offer recipes, ingredients, and detailed how-to photos.’
    • ‘For instance, Pogue not only includes the how-to's but a lot of otherwise undocumented hints and tips as well.’
    • ‘Larry Mak has written a number of books including Secrets of Modern Slot Playing, an informative and fun-filled how-to book for slot machine players everywhere.’
    • ‘The keys are spending time at a resort, having experienced friends to slide with, reading how-to books, and perhaps taking some lessons at a resort.’
    empirical, hands-on, pragmatic, real, actual, active, applied, experiential, experimental, non-theoretical, in the field
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nounPlural how-tos

informal
  • 1A book, video, or training session that provides practical advice.

    • ‘He outlines seven basic steps: writing, editing, a publishing how-to, design, printing (if applicable), promotion and sales.’
    • ‘With three children, the how-to of parenthood has become an even deeper mystery than it was before.’
    • ‘The book is conceived as a how-to for ‘qualitative method journalism.’’
    • ‘It's pretty much a how-to on doing stuff like this.’
    • ‘Learn more about facilitating by getting a good how-to on the subject.’
    • ‘This how-to assumes that a junction box is already available.’
    • ‘There's all kinds of workshops and how-tos on preparing for interviews.’
    • ‘Diet books, medical guides, how-tos and self-improvement schemes, after all, ritually command readers to do it this way, not that way.’
    • ‘If there's sufficient interest I will make a complete how-to on wiring up your house.’
    • ‘Nevertheless, his ambition and success could tempt as a how-to.’
    • ‘If you're in the weblog tool building business, this should read like a how-to for how you'd go about creating a new product.’
    • ‘Also on the site is a lengthy primer that provides a near-step-by-step how-to in establishing and empowering a Web presence for a candidate.’
    • ‘But don't look for a how-to in the owners' manual - this feature is undocumented, an inside joke of sorts…’
    • ‘In the following pages we'll guide you through a how-to on building your own PC.’
    • ‘After a brief how-to in paddling, you'll push off.’
    • ‘Student projects offer the much-needed freedom to look beyond the rule books and explore alternative design and zoning solutions - the why-to versus the how-to.’
    • ‘The Web site is the home for material aimed at the end user of CAD software - tutorials, how-tos, tips and tricks.’
    • ‘The final bibliography on other how-tos and books on comics is excellent, as are the reading lists along the way, even if Chinn's tastes run a little uncool.’
    • ‘The how-tos are intuitive, and my career has improved because of my subscriptions to this magazine.’
    • ‘Here, we offer a primer on perfect push-up technique and toss in a how-to on the stability ball push-up, a neat new twist on this old favorite.’
    hint, suggestion, piece of advice, word, word of advice, pointer, cue, clue, guideline, recommendation, maxim
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    1. 1.1how-tos The correct procedures for a particular activity.
      ‘you will discover the how-tos of freehand drawing’
      • ‘The school's vision of not only educating its students in the how-tos of film-making but also trying to change the globe's cinematic landscape has drawn some of the world's top cinema talent to its lecture theatres.’
      • ‘Combining psychoanalytical insight with the basic how-tos of loving, nurturing, and mentoring, Bassoff shows how to become better parents to our daughters and help them gain the skills to live happily and effectively.’
      • ‘Next come the dictums and the how-tos: Always take a problem away from a customer.’
      • ‘We'll be bringing you more how-tos on staying patent-free; in the meantime, use MPEG for research only.’
      • ‘They handle reproduction very tastefully, concentrating on the genetic facts of life rather than physical how-tos.’
      • ‘Radio's downsides are that you can't edit or remove unwanted reader comments, and documentation is informal, a cluster of how-tos that often assume you know far more than you do about technical issues.’
      • ‘With help from a staff of child psychologists, Tanenbaum offers how-tos on issues such as grounding and time out, as well as a Q & A column and first-hand accounts from moms and dads - the real experts.’
      • ‘I myself have found that in the past the comprehensive how-tos require you to wade through many paths and sidenotes that don't usually apply to your specific situation, since they are written to handle all of them.’
      • ‘This session will delve into the how-tos of capital asset planning and focus on how the HFPA, led by Kurmel, created a technology-based recapitalization plan for its $7.8 billion health facilities portfolio.’
      • ‘I'm a longtime fan of the show, and even though lately it's become a show with too many field trips and high-dollar makeovers and not enough actual tips and how-tos, I'm a sucker for their amazing work.’
      • ‘Gil came to trade tips, hints and how-tos with other owners.’
      • ‘His book is full of insight, humor, how-tos, and gossip.’

Pronunciation

how-to

/ˈhouˌto͞o//ˈhaʊˌtu/