how·​ev·​er | \ hau̇-ˈe-vər How to pronounce however (audio) \

Definition of however

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : in whatever manner or way that will help however I can
2 archaic : although



Definition of however (Entry 2 of 2)

1a : in whatever manner or way shall serve you, sir, truly, however else— William Shakespeare
b : to whatever degree or extent couldn't convince him, however hard she tried has done this for however many thousands of years— Emma Hawkridge
2 : in spite of that : on the other hand still seems possible, however, that conditions will improve would like to go; however, I think I'd better not
3 : how in the world however did you manage to do it

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Beginning a Sentence With However

However is one in a long list of words that students have been admonished to avoid placing at the beginning of a sentence (others include and, but, for, so, yet, and many more). Can you use however to start a sentence? Yes. Some usage guides will recommend against placing it there when the intended meaning is “nonetheless” but will allow it for other senses of however, but a considerable number of prominent (and not so prominent) writers utilize just this sense of however in the initial position. You should make your own judgment about such use and let your ear guide you regarding its appropriateness.

Examples of however in a Sentence

Conjunction Do it however you like. I will help however I can. Adverb I'm all out of eggs; however, I can still make us a nice breakfast.
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Recent Examples on the Web: Adverb Some activists, however, are encouraging Biden to be more aggressive. Alexandra Jaffe,, "Activists worry about Biden’s commitment to a higher minimum wage," 15 Feb. 2021 The actual listening experience for many people, however, never fully lined up with insider-versus-outsider dichotomies marketed by the music industry. Spencer Kornhaber, The Atlantic, "The Countercultural Sound of the 2020s," 14 Feb. 2021 Things should improve after sunrise on Sunday, however, some areas may not break the freezing mark until the late morning, the weather service said. Leigh Morgan, al, "Freezing fog possible in north Alabama overnight," 14 Feb. 2021 Grocery store owners, however, have resisted such ordinances by threatening to raise prices, cut pay and even close stores. Ruben Vives, Los Angeles Times, "Supermarket workers feel alone and unrecognized over COVID-19: ‘Is today the day I get the virus?’," 14 Feb. 2021 The famed cliff divers of Acapulco, however, tend to assume a head-down position, with the fingers of each hand locked together, arms outstretched, protecting the head. Dan Koeppel, Popular Mechanics, "Taking a Fall: The 120-MPH, 35,000 Feet, 3-Minutes-To-Impact Survival Guide," 14 Feb. 2021 The United States, however, entered into the Great Depression two years later. Selena Barrientos, Good Housekeeping, "The True Timeline of the Cecil Hotel's Dark History," 13 Feb. 2021 Fans were quick to note the seeming significance of the shirt Taylor is wearing in the new art, however, which is quite different from the original version. Kayleigh Roberts, Marie Claire, "Taylor Swift's Outfit on the New 'Fearless' Cover Might Be a Meaningful Easter Egg," 13 Feb. 2021 This year, however, 13 seniors currently work as interns, either at the Solon location or in Strongsville. Beth Mlady, cleveland, "Polaris partnership with Swagelok combines job skills with kindness," 13 Feb. 2021

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'however.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of however


14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1


14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

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Time Traveler for however

Time Traveler

The first known use of however was in the 14th century

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Cite this Entry

“However.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 25 Feb. 2021.

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More Definitions for however



English Language Learners Definition of however

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: in whatever manner or way



English Language Learners Definition of however (Entry 2 of 2)

used when you are saying something that is different from or contrasts with a previous statement
: to whatever degree or extent : no matter how
used as a more forceful way of saying how


how·​ev·​er | \ hau̇-ˈe-vər How to pronounce however (audio) \

Kids Definition of however

1 : to whatever degree or extent Finish the job however long it takes.
2 : in whatever way However you want to do it is fine.
3 : in spite of that The car was old. It did, however, get us home.

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Comments on however

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