1. In spite of that; nevertheless; yet: The book is expensive; however, it's worth it.
2. On the other hand; by contrast: The first part was easy; the second, however, took hours.
3. To whatever degree or extent: "The prospect of success, however remote, was tantalizing" (Stephen Baker).
4. In what way. Used as an intensive of how: However did you get here so soon?
1. In whatever manner or way that: Dress however you like.
2. Archaic Notwithstanding that; although: "Howe'er thou art a fiend, / a woman's shape doth shield thee" (Shakespeare).
Usage Note: It is sometimes claimed that one should not use however to begin a sentence, but few writers consistently follow this rule. In our 2015 survey, only 10 percent of the Usage Panel reported that they themselves always follow the rule, 30 percent said that they usually or sometimes follow it, and 60 percent said that they rarely or never do so. And consistent with their self-reports, two thirds of the Panel judged a sentence beginning with however to be completely acceptable, and another quarter of them judged it at least somewhat acceptable—in other words, fewer than ten percent of them objected to it. · When however is used to join clauses within a sentence, it acts as a conjunctive adverb like nevertheless, not as a coordinating conjunction like but or yet. The conventions of punctuation thus require that it be preceded by a semicolon, as in Main Street will be closed to traffic for the parade; however, the stores along it will remain open. Using a comma instead of a semicolon is likely to be perceived as a mistake. In our 2015 survey, 86 percent of the Usage Panel gave an unacceptable rating to the sentence Main Street will be closed to traffic for the parade, however, the stores along it will remain open. See Usage Notes at but, whatever.
The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition copyright ©2020 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
Indo-European & Semitic Roots Appendices
Thousands of entries in the dictionary include etymologies that trace their origins back to reconstructed proto-languages. You can obtain more information about these forms in our online appendices:
The Indo-European appendix covers nearly half of the Indo-European roots that have left their mark on English words. A more complete treatment of Indo-European roots and the English words derived from them is available in our Dictionary of Indo-European Roots.