First Name
in the U.S.
since 1880
Last Name
in the U.S.
in 2010
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Meaning and Origin

What does the name How mean? Find out below.

Origin and Meaning of How

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Webster's Unabridged Dictionary
adverb How
  1. In what manner or way; by what means or process." How can a man be born when he is old?" [John iii. 4.]
  2. To what degree or extent, number or amount; in what proportion; by what measure or quality."O, how love I thy law! it is my meditation all the day." [Ps. cxix. 97.]"By how much they would diminish the present extent of the sea, so much they would impair the fertility, and fountains, and rivers of the earth." [Bentley.]
  3. For what reason; from what cause." How now, my love! why is your cheek so pale?" [Shak.]
  4. In what state, condition, or plight." How, and with what reproach, shall I return?" [Dryden.]
  5. By what name, designation, or title." How art thou called?" [Shak.]
  6. At what price; how dear.(Obs)" How a score of ewes now?" [Shak.]"Let me beg you -- don't say “ How?” for “What?”" [Holmes.]

Note: How is used in each sense, interrogatively, interjectionally, and relatively; it is also often employed to emphasize an interrogation or exclamation. “ How are the mighty fallen!” 2 Sam. i. 27. Sometimes, also, it is used as a noun; -- as, the how, the when, the wherefore. Shelley.

Etymology: OE. how hou hu hwu, AS. h�, from the same root as hwā hwæt, who, what, pron. interrog.; akin to OS. hwōw, D. hoe, cf. G. wie how, Goth. hwē wherewith, hwaiwa how. √182. See Who, and cf. Why


From Middle English how, hou, hu, hwu, Old English , from Proto-Germanic *hwō, from the same root as hwæt (“who, what”). /hw/ > /h/ due to wh-cluster reduction in Old English; compare who, which underwent this change later, and thus is spelt wh (Middle English spelling of /hw/) but pronounced /h/ (it previously had a different vowel, hence avoided the spelling and sound change in Old English). Vowel change per Great Vowel Shift.

  1. The means by which something is accomplished.
    I am not interested in the why, but in the .

Akin to Scots hoo, foo (“how”), Saterland Frisian wo (“how”), West Frisian hoe (“how”), Low German ho, wo, wu (“how”), Dutch hoe (“how”), German wie (“how”), Swedish hur (“how”). See who and compare why.

  1. The means by which something is accomplished.
    I am not interested in the why, but in the .

From a Siouan language, compare Lakota háu. Alternatively from Wyandot haau.

From Old Norse haugr.

  1. (dialectal) An artificial barrow or tumulus.
  2. (dialectal) A small hill in northern England. (Usage preserved mainly in place names.)

    how was also found in the following language(s): Abau, Alabama, and Lower Sorbian

    Notable Persons Named How

    How to Dress Well is an ambient music, experimental music, alternative r&b, lo-fi music, and electronic music musician. He has been prominent since 2009. How was given the name Tom Krell on September 10th, 1984 in Chicago, Illinois, United States. How is also known as How To Dress Well.


    Notable Persons With the Last Name How

    Yong Pung How is a Chief Justice of Singapore, Judge of the Supreme Court of Singapore, and Judge of theSupreme Court of Singapore. He was most prominent from 1990 to 2006. Yong was born on April 11th, 1926 in Kuala Lumpur.


    Jane How is an actor and actress. Jane was given the name Carolyn Jane Onslow How on December 21st, 1951 in London.


    Wing How is a comics character.


    Heng Chee How is a Deputy Secretary-General of NTUC, Central Singapore CDC, and Deputy Secretary-General ofNTUC. He was most active from 2011 to 2011. Heng was born on July 14th, 1961 in Singapore.


    James was born in 1874. He passed away in 1930.


    Jamie How is a cricketer. Jamie was born on May 19th, 1981 in New Plymouth, Taranaki, New Zealand.


    Where is the name How popular?

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    Popularity of How as a last name

    The map shows the absolute popularity of the name How as a last name in each of the states. See other popular names in Missouri, New York, or California.

    Common last names for How

    • Wong
    • Lee

    Common first names for How

    Ethnicity Distribution

    Ethnicity How U.S.
      White 56.65% 64.26%
      African American 0.00% 11.96%
      Asian, Hawaiian, and Pacific Islander 35.49% 4.85%
      American Indian and Alaska Native 0.00% 0.69%
      Two or More Ethnicities 2.79% 1.76%
      Hispanic or Latino 3.93% 16.26%

    Of Last Name How

    People with the last name How are most frequently White or Asian, Hawaiian, and Pacific Islander

    Entire United States

    Fun Facts about the name How

    • How Popular is the name How? As a last name How was the 29,793rd most popular name in 2010.
    • When was the first name How first recorded in the United States? The oldest recorded birth by the Social Security Administration for the name How is Sunday, June 1st, 1884.
    • How unique is the name How? From 1880 to 2017 less than 5 people per year have been born with the first name How. Hoorah! You are a unique individual.
    • Weird things about the name How: Your name in reverse order is Woh. A random rearrangement of the letters in your name (anagram) will give Ohw. How do you pronounce that?
    • How many people have the last name How? In 2010, the U.S. Census Bureau surveyed 789 people with the last name How.
    • How likely are you to meet someone with the last name of How? Chances are, most people haven't met someone with How as their last name since less than 1 person in 370k people have that last name. If you know one, consider yourself lucky!

    What Hows Have Visited This Page?

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    • Sources:
    • U.S. Census Bureau: Frequently Occurring Surnames from the Census 2000 (public domain).
    • 1913 Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary via the Collaborative International Dictionary of English (License)
    • Wiktionary: Titles and License.
    • Notable persons via Wikipedia: Titles and License. Click each image for the attribution information.