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 Other Republican senators bristled, however, unwilling to make a call on who might not be telling the truth between the president and Mr. Bolton, a prominent and longtime conservative in Washington. Rebecca Ballhaus, WSJ, "How Republicans Scotched the Idea of Witnesses in Trump’s Impeachment Trial," 1 Feb. 2020 The Spartans, however, are focusing more on themselves. Chris Solari, Detroit Free Press, "No. 14 Michigan State basketball at Wisconsin: Scouting report, prediction," 1 Feb. 2020 Harvard’s officials had not, however, approved the laboratory and did not know about it until early 2015, according to the US Department of Justice. The Economist, "An American chemist is suspected of illegal dealings with China," 1 Feb. 2020 The gaps have slimmed considerably since 1996, however, and for the first time, men and women are tasked equally with paying the bills. Halley Bondy, NBC News, "In the know: Women in the news 1/27-1/31," 31 Jan. 2020 In recent years, however, three states have claimed to ratify it. The Editors, National Review, "The Equal Rights Un-Amendment," 31 Jan. 2020 Recently, however, Coconut was surrendered back to AHS due to him not being a big fan of the dog in the home. Arizona Republic, azcentral, "Ginger and more pets up for adoption in Phoenix-area shelters this week," 31 Jan. 2020 Within a few days, however, the case had collapsed. Kirk Semple, New York Times, "More Violence. Fewer Prisoners. Inside Mexico’s Criminal Justice Reform.," 30 Jan. 2020 Since then, however, the company has continued steadily rebounding. Diego Mendoza-moyers,, "San Antonio’s Globalscape posts record year as turnaround continues," 30 Jan. 2020

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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Statistics for however

Cite this Entry

“However.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 26 Feb. 2020.

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More Definitions for however


How to pronounce however (audio)

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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More from Merriam-Webster on however

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for however

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with however

Spanish Central: Translation of however

Nglish: Translation of however for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of however for Arabic Speakers

Comments on however

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