Language: Old English
Origin: hu


adverb, conjunction
how S1 W1
1 used to ask or talk about the way in which something happens or is done:
How do you spell your name?
How can I help you?
I'd like to help in some way, but I'm not sure how.
He explained how the system worked.
We both used to work at the airport - that's how we met.
how to do something
I don't know how to get to your house.
Alan showed me how to load the gun.
advice on how best (=the best way) to invest your money
They had a number of suggestions as to how the service could be improved.
This still leaves the question of how local services should be funded.
how on earth/in the world etc (=used for emphasis when you are surprised, angry etc)
How on earth did you find out?
2 used to ask or talk about the amount, size, degree etc of something:
How big is the state of Louisiana?
How many kids do they have now?
How long have you been learning English?
Do you know how old it is?
They couldn't tell exactly how far away the bridge was.
She wondered how much Angela already knew.
how much? (=used to ask the price of something)
How much are the tickets?
3 spoken
a) used to ask about someone's health, especially when you meet them:
'Hi Laurie, how are you?' 'Fine, thanks. How are you?'
Has Ros had the baby yet? How is she?
'How's your ankle this morning?' 'Better, thanks.'
b) used when you meet someone to ask for news about their life, work etc:
So how's it going at work these days? Still enjoying it?
' How are things with you?' 'Fine.'
4 used to ask someone about their opinion or experience of something:
How was the film?
'How's your steak?' 'Mmm, it's good.'
How did your exams go?
How do you feel about seeing Peter again?
How's that? Does that feel comfortable?
5 used after certain adjectives or verbs to refer to an event or situation:
It's amazing how they've managed to get everything finished so quickly.
I remember how she always used to have fresh flowers in the house.
6 [+ adjective/adverb] used to emphasize the quality you are mentioning:
How lovely to see you!
'John's been in an accident.' 'Oh, how awful!'
I didn't realize how difficult it was to get tickets.
He was impressed at how well she could read.
7 old-fashioned or written used to say that something happens to a very great degree:
How the crowd loved it!
8 spoken

how about...?

a) used to make a suggestion about what to do [= what about]:
No, I'm busy on Monday. How about Tuesday at seven?
how about doing something
How about putting the sofa closer to the window?
How about we have that game when we get back?
How about if we tell the police where Newley is hiding?
how's about American English
How's about going to the beach this afternoon?
b) used to ask about another person or thing:
'Mary and Ken are still away.' 'And how about Billy?'
I need a long cold drink. How about you?
9 spoken

how do you mean?

used to ask someone to explain something they have just said:
'What's your family situation?' 'How do you mean?' 'Are you married?'
10 spoken

how come?

informal used to ask why something has happened or why a particular situation exists, especially when you are surprised by it:
How come Dave's home? Isn't he feeling well?
11 spoken

how do you do?

formal used as a polite greeting when you meet someone for the first time
12 spoken

how can/could somebody do something?

used when you are very surprised by something or disapprove strongly of something:
William! How can you say such a thing?
How could anyone be so cruel?
13 spoken

how you like/want

British English informal in whatever way you like or want:
Then you can arrange it how you like.
14 spoken

how about that!/how do you like that!

used when you think something is surprising, rude, impressive etc:
He scored two goals! How about that!
15 spoken

how's that for something?

used to say that you think something is very impressive:
I've already arranged everything. How's that for efficiency?
16 spoken

how ... is that?

a) used to say that an action or event has a particular quality to a great degree:
He sent himself a card for Valentine's Day. How sad is that?
b) used to say that an action or event does not have a particular quality:
They say they're not going to leave, but how likely is that?
17 spoken

how so?

used to ask someone to explain an opinion they have given:
'Rick's parents are a little strange, I think.' 'How so?'
18 spoken

how about if...?

informal used to mention something that may happen, and ask what should be done if it does happen:
How about if we quit now?
19 spoken

and how!

old-fashioned used to say 'yes' strongly in reply to a question:
'Was Matt drunk?' 'And how!'

➔ how dare you

at dare1 (2)

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