American English

Definition of how adverb from the Oxford Advanced American Dictionary



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  1. 1in what way or manner How does it work? He did not know how he ought to behave. I'll show you how to load the software. “Her behavior was very odd.” “How so? It's funny how (= that) people always remember him. Do you remember how (= that) the kids always loved going there? How ever did you get here so quickly? compare however
  2. 2used to ask about someone's health How are you? How are you feeling now?
  3. 3used to ask whether something is successful or enjoyable How was your trip? How did they play?
  4. 4used before an adjective or adverb to ask about the amount, degree, etc. of something, or about someone's age How often do you go swimming? I didn't know how much to bring. How much are those earrings (= What do they cost)? How many people were there? How old is she?
  5. 5used to express surprise, pleasure, etc. How nice of you to help! How he wished he had been there!
  6. 6in any way in which synonym however I'll dress how I like in my own house!
  7. Idioms
    and how! (informal)
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    used to express strong agreement “Are you looking forward to it?” “And how!”
      how about…?
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    1. 1used when asking for information about someone or something I'm not going. How about you?
    2. 2used to make a suggestion How about a break? How about going for a meal? How about we go for a meal?
    how can/could you! (informal)
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    used to show that you strongly disapprove of someone's behavior or are very surprised by it Ben! How could you? After all they've done for us! Ugh! How can you eat that stuff?
    how come (…)?
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    used to say you do not understand how something can happen and would like an explanation If she spent five years in Paris, how come her French is so bad?
    how do you do (becoming old-fashioned)
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    used as a formal greeting when you meet someone for the first time. The usual reply is also How do you do?
      how's that? (informal)
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    1. 1used to ask the reason for something “I left work early today.” “How's that (= Why)?”
    2. 2used when you ask somebody to repeat something How's that again? I think I missed something.”
    3. 3used when asking someone's opinion of something I'll tuck your sheets in for you. How's that? Comfortable? Two o'clock on the dot!How's that for punctuality!
See the Oxford Advanced Learner's Dictionary entry: how