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how-do-you-do

[hou-duh-yuh-doo] /ˈhaʊ də yəˈdu/
noun, plural how-do-you-dos. Informal.
1.
a greeting; salutation:
She smiled and gave him a how-do-you-do fit for a king.
2.
an awkward or unpleasant event or situation:
It's a fine how-do-you-do that they've refused to help us out.
Also, how-de-do
[hou-dee-doo] /ˈhaʊ diˈdu/ (Show IPA)
.
Origin of how-do-you-do
1625-1635
First recorded in 1625-35

how do you do

interjection
1.
(used as a conventional greeting).
Dictionary.com Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2017.
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Examples from the Web for how-do-you-do
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • The boys say "how-do-you-do" and try to smile like grown-up folks.

    The Great Hunger Johan Bojer
  • Say, Shadow, give us a chance to say how-do-you-do first, won't you?

    Dave Porter in the Gold Fields Edward Stratemeyer
  • He said how-do-you-do to Mrs. Knolles and to herself, and was presented to the others.

    Overlooked Maurice Baring
  • He really came to see me; but he would like to say how-do-you-do to you at the same time.

    The Master Builder Henrik Ibsen
  • Be civil, say how-do-you-do, shake hands and give her a chair.

    The Betrothal Maurice Maeterlinck
  • Then he of Clusium would flutter and say, how-do-you-do, in squeaky crow tones.

    The Story of Opal Opal Whiteley
  • And when a man wants to talk like that "how-do-you-do" is as good a catchphrase as the next to keep his tongue discreet.

    Sally of Missouri

    R. E. Young
  • After a timid "how-do-you-do," and a comment on the great heat of the June day, she went back in the house.

  • "how-do-you-do, sir," he repeated to Natalie in precisely the same tone, gravely shaking hands with her.

    Two on the Trail

    Hulbert Footner
British Dictionary definitions for how-do-you-do

how do you do

sentence substitute
1.
Also how do?, how d'ye do?. a formal greeting said by people who are being introduced to each other or are meeting for the first time
noun
2.
(informal) a difficult situation
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Idioms and Phrases with how-do-you-do

how do you do

A conventional greeting used mostly after being introduced to someone, as in And this is our youngest—say “How do you do” to Mr. Smith. Although it is a question, it requires no reply. Originally, in the 1600s, this expression was an inquiry after a person's health or standing, how do you do meaning “how do you fare?” Today we usually express this asHow are you? orHow are you doing? orHow goes it? orHow's it going? Even more general are the slangy locutionsHow are things? orHow's tricks? All of these greetings date from the first half of the 1900s.
The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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9
8
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