howdy-do

howdy-do

1. An informal, colloquial greeting (a contraction of "how do you do?"). Primarily heard in US. Well hey, Bob, howdy-do? Been a long time since I've seen you around here!
2. An unfortunate, unpleasant, or awkward situation or circumstance; a troublesome or difficult state of affairs. (Often phrased as "a fine howdy-do.") Primarily heard in US. Well that's a fine howdy-do. I'm on the job for just two days and I find out that the company is going bankrupt!
References in classic literature ?
On the 24th of April he sold his horse--said 'I'm just fifty-seven today, hale and hearty--it would be a PRETTY howdy-do for me to be wasting such a trip as that and such weather as this, on a horse, when there ain't anything in the world so splendid as a tramp on foot through the fresh spring woods and over the cheery mountains, to a man that IS a man--and I can make my dog carry my claim in a little bundle, anyway, when it's collected.
In the second half, Laura's delivery of The Sun And I was a sheer delight as were the comic trios and quartets of Swing a Merry Madrigal and Here's A Howdy-Do which helped make the original show one of the best-loved of all Gilbert and Sullivan's operettas.