1. in what way or manner; by what means?: How did the accident happen?
  2. to what extent, degree, etc.?: How damaged is the car?
  3. in what state or condition?: How are you?
  4. for what reason; why?: How can you talk such nonsense?
  5. to what effect; with what meaning?: How is one to interpret his action?
  6. what?: How do you mean? If they don't have vanilla, how about chocolate?
  7. (used as an intensifier): How seldom I go there!
  8. by what title or name?: How does one address the president?
  9. at what price: How are the new cars going, cheaper than last year's models?
  10. by what amount or in what measure or quantity?: How do you sell these tomatoes?
  11. in what form or shape?: How does the demon appear in the first act of the opera? How does the medication come?
  1. the manner or way in which: He couldn't figure out how to solve the problem.
  2. about the manner, condition, or way in which: I don't care how you leave your desk when you go. Be careful how you act.
  3. in whatever manner or way; however: You can travel how you please.
  4. Informal. that: He told us how he was honest and could be trusted.
  1. a question concerning the way or manner in which something is done, achieved, etc.: a child's unending whys and hows.
  2. a way or manner of doing something: to consider all the hows and wherefores.
  3. a word formerly used in communications to represent the letter H.
  1. and how! Informal. certainly! you bet!: Am I happy? And how!
  2. Here's how, Informal. (used as a toast).
  3. how come? Informal. how is it that? why?: How come you never visit us anymore?
  4. how so? how does it happen to be so? why?: You haven't any desire to go? How so?

Origin of how

before 900; Middle English how, hu, Old English hū; cognate with Old Frisian hū, ho, Dutch hoe; akin to German wie (Old High German hweo), Gothic hwaiwa Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

British Dictionary definitions for and how!


  1. in what way? in what manner? by what means?: how did it happen? Also used in indirect questions: tell me how he did it
  2. to what extent?how tall is he?
  3. how good? how well? what…like?how did she sing?; how was the holiday?
  4. how about? used to suggest somethinghow about asking her?; how about a cup of tea?
  5. how are you? what is your state of health?
  6. how come? informal what is the reason (that)?how come you told him?
  7. how's that for…?
    1. is this satisfactory as regards…?how's that for size?
    2. an exclamation used to draw attention to a quality, deed, etchow is that for endurance?
  8. how's that?
    1. what is your opinion?
    2. cricket(an appeal to the umpire) is the batsman out?Also written: howzat (haʊˈzæt)
  9. how now? or how so? archaic what is the meaning of this?
  10. Also: as how not standard thathe told me as how the shop was closed
  11. in whatever waydo it how you wish
  12. used in exclamations to emphasize extenthow happy I was!
  13. and how! (intensifier) very much so!
  14. here's how! (as a toast) good health!
  1. the way a thing is donethe how of it

Word Origin for how

Old English hu; related to Old Frisian hū, Old High German hweo


sentence substitute
  1. a greeting supposed to be or have been used by American Indians and often used humorously

Word Origin for how

C19: of Siouan origin; related to Dakota háo
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

Word Origin and History for and how!



Old English hu, from West Germanic *hwo- (cf. Old Saxon hwo, Old Frisian, Middle Dutch hu. Dutch hoe, German wie, Gothic hvaiwa "how"), from common PIE interrogative pronomial stem *kwo- (see who). How come? for "why?" is recorded from 1848. And how! emphatic, first recorded 1865. The formulation was common in book and article titles by then, e.g. The National Debt, and How to Pay It), but Pennsylvania writer Bayard Taylor, in whom it is first recorded, seems to regard it as a German or German-American expression.



Native American greeting, Siouxan (cf. Dakota hao, Omaha hau); first recorded 1817 in English, but noted early 17c. by French missionary Jean de Brebeuf among Hurons as an expression of approval (1636).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

Idioms and Phrases with and how!

and how!

Emphatically so. This idiom is an interjection used to stress agreement, as in Did you enjoy the play?—And how! it was wonderful. It probably originated as a direct translation of the German Und wie! [1920s]


In addition to the idioms beginning with how

  • how about
  • how about that?
  • how are you?
  • how come?
  • how does that grab you?
  • how do you do?
  • how goes it
  • howling success
  • how so?
  • how the land lies
  • how the wind blows

also see:

  • and how
The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.