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

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 That forced shift during the holidays, however, turned out to be a good move. Anne D'innocenzio, Chron, 22 Nov. 2021 The tar sands remained largely beyond reach for decades, however, until Americans, driven by nationalistic ambitions, invested vast sums of capital. NBC News, 22 Nov. 2021 At two loops, however — the level of precision of Gehrmann’s calculation — the number of possible sequences of events explodes. Quanta Magazine, 22 Nov. 2021 In recent weeks, however, the Powell Fed has come under some criticism from economists for being too slow to recognize the persistence of high inflation and the need to act soon to raise rates. Christopher Rugaber, Anchorage Daily News, 22 Nov. 2021 Minnesota, however, raced back down the field to score and take a 31-24 lead thereafter. Jr Radcliffe, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, 22 Nov. 2021 Courtrooms are normally open to the public; however, the judge has instituted limited seating for the public due to the coronavirus pandemic. Clare Hymes, CBS News, 22 Nov. 2021 Thankfully, however, there’s another Apple laptop for everyone else. Christian De Looper, BGR, 22 Nov. 2021 The reimagined piece, however, which was two years in the making, features a total of 578 diamonds, including 353 round brilliant stones and 224 custom-cut baguettes. Rachel Cormack, Robb Report, 22 Nov. 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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Dictionary Entries Near however

Howe truss



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Statistics for however

Cite this Entry

“However.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 2 Dec. 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.

More from Merriam-Webster on however

Nglish: Translation of however for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of however for Arabic Speakers


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