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how-do-you-do

[hou-duh-yuh-doo]
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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.
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Also how-de-do [hou-dee-doo] /ˈhaʊ diˈdu/.

Origin of how-do-you-do

First recorded in 1625–35

how do you do

interjection
  1. (used as a conventional greeting).
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Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

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?

  • 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


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
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noun how-do-you-do
  1. informal a difficult situation
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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

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 as How are you? or How are you doing? or How goes it? or How's it going? Even more general are the slangy locutions How are things? or How's tricks? All of these greetings date from the first half of the 1900s.

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