English edit

Etymology edit

From Middle English however, how-ever, how-evere; equivalent to how +‎ ever. Compare howsoever.

Pronunciation edit

Adverb edit

however (not comparable)

  1. (conjunctive) Nevertheless; yet, still; in spite of that.
    He told me not to do it. However, I did it anyway. / I did it anyway, however. / I, however, did it anyway.
    She wanted to go; however, she decided against it.
    I didn't argue with him; I still think, however, that he is wrong.
    • 1892, Walter Besant, “Prologue: Who is Edmund Gray?”, in The Ivory Gate [], New York, N.Y.: Harper & Brothers, [], →OCLC:
      Thus, when he drew up instructions in lawyer language, he expressed the important words by an initial, a medial, or a final consonant, and made scratches for all the words between; his clerks, however, understood him very well.
    • 1918, W[illiam] B[abington] Maxwell, chapter II, in The Mirror and the Lamp, Indianapolis, Ind.: The Bobbs-Merrill Company, →OCLC:
      That the young Mr. Churchills liked—but they did not like him coming round of an evening and drinking weak whisky-and-water while he held forth on railway debentures and corporation loans. Mr. Barrett, however, by fawning and flattery, seemed to be able to make not only Mrs. Churchill but everyone else do what he desired.
    • 2013 June 29, “A punch in the gut”, in The Economist, volume 407, number 8842, pages 72–3:
      Mostly, the microbiome is beneficial. It helps with digestion and enables people to extract a lot more calories from their food than would otherwise be possible. Research over the past few years, however, has implicated it in diseases from atherosclerosis to asthma to autism.
  2. (conjunctive) In contrast.
    The conference itself went very well. The party afterwards, however, was a disaster.
  3. (degree) To whatever degree or extent.
    However clear you think you've been, many questions will remain.
    • 1811, Jane Austen, Sense and Sensibility, Chapter 42:
      Elinor, however little concerned in it, joined in their discourse; and Marianne, who had the knack of finding her way in every house to the library, however it might be avoided by the family in general, soon procured herself a book.
  4. (informal, manner) In any way that one likes or chooses; in a haphazard or spontaneous way.
    I don't care; just do it however.
    Nothing was really planned; things just happened however.
  5. (interrogative) How ever: an emphatic form of how, used to ask in what manner.
    I thought it was impossible. However were you able to do it?
  6. (obsolete) In any case, at any rate, at all events.
    • c. 1680, John Tillotson:
      Our chief end and highest interest is happiness : And this is happiness to be freed from all (if it may) [or] however from the greatest evils.

Usage notes edit

Traditionally, some commentators have objected to the use of "however" at the start of a sentence in the sense of "nevertheless", but in practice this is widely accepted.

The use of a comma before "however" as a means of connecting independent clauses in the sense of "nevertheless", as in "She wanted to go, however she decided against it", is traditionally considered an error, equivalent to using "however" as a proscribed conjunction (see below). Compare the prescriptively correct sentence "She wanted to go, but she decided against it", which uses a true conjunction "but".

Synonyms edit

Translations edit

The translations below need to be checked and inserted above into the appropriate translation tables. See instructions at Wiktionary:Entry layout § Translations.

Conjunction edit


  1. Regardless of the way in which.
    Let me know when you've had your interview, however it goes.
    However we do this, it isn't going to work.
    • 2013 June 21, Oliver Burkeman, “The tao of tech”, in The Guardian Weekly, volume 189, number 2, page 48:
      But the real way to build a successful online business is to be better than your rivals at undermining people's control of their own attention. Partly, this is a result of how online advertising has traditionally worked: advertisers pay for clicks, and a click is a click, however it's obtained.
  2. In any way in which.
    She offered to help however she could.
    Wear your hair however you want.
  3. (proscribed) But, yet, though, although.
    *She wanted to go, however she decided against it. (proscribed)

Usage notes edit

See the usage notes for adverb senses, above.

Derived terms edit

Translations edit

The translations below need to be checked and inserted above into the appropriate translation tables. See instructions at Wiktionary:Entry layout § Translations.

References edit

Anagrams edit