AskDefine | Define however

Dictionary Definition

however adv
1 despite anything to the contrary (usually following a concession); "although I'm a little afraid, however I'd like to try it"; "while we disliked each other, nevertheless we agreed"; "he was a stern yet fair master"; "granted that it is dangerous, all the same I still want to go" [syn: nevertheless, withal, still, yet, all the same, even so, nonetheless, notwithstanding]
2 by contrast; on the other hand; "the first part was easy; the second, however, took hours"
3 to whatever degree or extent; "The results, however general, are important"; "they have begun, however reluctantly, to acknowledge the legitimacy of some of the opposition's concerns"
4 in whatever way or manner; "Victory, however it was brought about, was sweet"; "however he did it, it was very clever"
5 in what way or manner or by what means (`however' is sometimes used as an intensive form of `how'); "how did you catch the snake?"; "he told us how he did it"; "however did you get here so soon?" [syn: how]

User Contributed Dictionary



  • a RP /hɑʊˈεvə/, /haU"Ev@/
  • a US , /haʊˈɛvɚ/, /haU'Ev@`/
  • Rhymes with: -ɛvə(r)
  • Hyphenation: how·ev·er


  1. Nevertheless, nonetheless, even so, that said, in spite of this.
    He told me not to do it; however, I did it.
  2. In the context of "chiefly|UK|as an intensified form in interrogatives": In what way; how.
    However did you do that?

Usage notes

  • sense nevertheless Strunk and White's The Elements of Style argues that the adverb however, in its sense of "nevertheless", should be avoided at the beginning of a sentence. Other style guides argue that however is overused in this sense, whether or not at the start of a sentence.


intensifier: in what way


  1. In whatever manner.
    Do it however you want.
  2. To whatever extent.
    However far he may get, there'll be many that get further.
    However much you prepare for the exam, there will still be a few questions on which you won't be sure of the answer.
  3. Although, though, but, yet.

Usage notes

  • sense although The use of however as a conjunction meaning "although" is identical to its use as a clause-initial adverb meaning "nevertheless", except in punctuation (when written) and in prosody (when spoken). Hence, the following proscribed sentence:(proscribed) He told me not to do it, however I did equivalent to the following accepted one:(accepted) He told me not to do it; however, I did it.In particular, when used as a conjunction in this sense, however always appears between the clauses it connects; it does not introduce a true subordinate clause that can be moved to the start of an independent clause, because a conjunctive adverb cannot do that.


in whatever manner


  • Webster 1913
  • "however" in Encarta® World English Dictionary [North American Edition] © & (P)2007 Microsoft Corporation.
  • "however (degree)" in Cambridge Advanced Learner's Dictionary © Cambridge University Press 2007.
  • "however (despite)" in Cambridge Advanced Learner's Dictionary © Cambridge University Press 2007.
  • "however (way)" in Cambridge Advanced Learner's Dictionary © Cambridge University Press 2007.
  • "however" in Compact Oxford English Dictionary, © Oxford University Press, 2007.
  • Oxford English Dictionary, 2nd ed., 1989.
  • Random House Webster's Unabridged Electronic Dictionary, 1987-1996.

Synonyms, Antonyms and Related Words

after all, again, albeit, all the same, although, anyhow, anyway, anywise, at all, at all events, at any rate, but, by any means, come what may, even, even so, except, for all that, how, howbeit, in any case, in any event, in any way, in what way, irregardless, just the same, nevertheless, no matter how, no matter what, nohow, nonetheless, notwithstanding, on, per contra, rather, regardless, save, still, though, when, yet, yowl
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