- a greeting; salutation: She smiled and gave him a how-do-you-do fit for a king.
- an awkward or unpleasant event or situation: It's a fine how-do-you-do that they've refused to help us out.
Origin of how-do-you-do
how do you do
- (used as a conventional greeting).
Examples from the Web for how-do-you-do
She tried the direct, how-do-you-do handshake approach, but was blocked by a burly aide-de-camp.Andrew Cuomo Can't Ignore It Now: He's Weak Even at Home
September 10, 2014
The boys say "how-do-you-do" and try to smile like grown-up folks.The Great Hunger
Say, Shadow, give us a chance to say how-do-you-do first, won't you?Dave Porter in the Gold Fields
He said how-do-you-do to Mrs. Knolles and to herself, and was presented to the others.Overlooked
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
Be civil, say how-do-you-do, shake hands and give her a chair.The Betrothal
how do you do
- 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
- informal a difficult situation
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.