Forums · General English Grammar & Vocabulary, Listening & Speaking · General English Grammar Questions
Anonymous:"How now brown cow!"
What does "how now" mean? Is it idiomatic?
"How now!" is elliptical for "How (say you) now!".
It's obsolete, except in humorously archaic usage.
MrPedanticHello Anon,Thanks MrP.
What do you mean elliptical?
Anonymous:I think it is important to point out that it is not just a greeting, but can be used in a context similar to today's
"What say you to that?" or "What do you say [in response] to that?"
"The dog is a girl."
"It isn't! Look, it has all the genitalia indicating that it is, in fact, male! How now?"
(It should also go without saying that you still here this in England uncommonly, but not rarely, and to the chap that said that this is only ever used in comically archaic context, or what have you- that hurts my feelings. I think it is only archaic because young people have lost their sense of propriety. How now?)
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