how do you do

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How do you do.

a standard inquiry and response on greeting or meeting someone. (This expression never has rising question intonation, but the first instance of its use calls for a response. Sometimes the response does, in fact, explain how one is.) Sally: Hello. How do you do. Bob: How do you do. Mary: How do you do. So glad to meet you, Tom. Tom: Thank you. How are you? Mary: Just fine. Your brother tells me you like camping. Tom: Yes. Are you a camper? Mary: Sort of.
See also: how

how do you do

A conventional greeting used mostly after being introduced to someone, as in And this is our youngest-say "How do you do" to Mr. Smith. Although it is a question, it requires no reply. Originally, in the 1600s, this expression was an inquiry after a person's health or standing, how do you do meaning "how do you fare?" Today we usually express this as How are you? or How are you doing? or How goes it? or How's it going? Even more general are the slangy locutions How are things? or How's tricks? All of these greetings date from the first half of the 1900s.
See also: how