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



however (not comparable)

  1. Nevertheless; yet, still; in spite of (that).
    He told me not to do it. I, however, did it anyway. / I did it anyway, however. / (sometimes proscribed:) However, I did it anyway.
    She wanted to go; however, she decided against it.
    • 1892, Walter Besant, “Prologue: Who is Edmund Gray?”, in The Ivory Gate [], New York, N.Y.: Harper & Brothers, [], OCLC 16832619:
      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. B. Maxwell, chapter 2, in The Mirror and the Lamp:
      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, page 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. (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.
  3. (manner) In whatever way or manner.
    Let me know when you've had your interview, however it goes.
    • 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.
  4. An emphatic form of how.
    However were you able to do it?
  5. (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.



The translations below need to be checked and inserted above into the appropriate translation tables, removing any numbers. Numbers do not necessarily match those in definitions. See instructions at Wiktionary:Entry layout § Translations.



  1. In whatever way or manner.
    she offered to help however she could
  2. (proscribed) Although, though, but, yet.

Usage notesEdit

  • Both conjunctive uses of "however" are identical to adverbial uses except in punctuation (when written) and in prosody (when spoken). Hence, the following proscribed sentence:
    • He told me not to do it, however I did it.
    is equivalent to the following accepted one:
    • He told me not to do it; however, I did it.
    which can also be written in two sentences::
    • He told me not to do it. However, I did it.
    they are functionally equivalent to:
    • He told me not to do it, but 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 subordinate clause that can be moved to the start of an independent clause, but simply coordinates two independent clauses.