[ hou-too ]

  1. giving or pertaining to basic instructions and directions to the layperson on the methods for doing or making something, especially as a hobby or for practical use: a how-to book on photography.

noun,plural how-tos.
  1. a set of step-by-step instructions for accomplishing a certain task or reaching a certain objective: a how-to for fixing a leaky faucet.

  2. the basic principles or approach for doing something: the how-to of investing in the stock market.

Origin of how-to

First recorded in 1925–30

Other words from how-to

  • how-toer, noun

Words Nearby how-to Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023

How to use how-to in a sentence

  • Meantime I'll take your advice about my speech, Mac, and blue-pencil the how-to-be-good stuff.

    The Clarion | Samuel Hopkins Adams
  • Special subjects require special consideration and study, especially when the how-to-do-it is involved.

  • Because all persons want to know how to be more successful, they read these "how-to-do-something" articles with avidity.

    How To Write Special Feature Articles | Willard Grosvenor Bleyer
  • In preparing a "how-to-do-something" article, a writer needs to consider the class of readers for which it is intended.

    How To Write Special Feature Articles | Willard Grosvenor Bleyer
  • Lobs were being tried, and Stone, nearly weeping with pure joy, was playing an innings of the how-to-brighten-cricket type.

    Mike | P. G. Wodehouse

British Dictionary definitions for how-to


  1. (of a book or guide) giving basic instructions to the lay person on how to do or make something, esp as a hobby or for practical purposes: a how-to book on carpentry

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