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.
In matters of poetic diction, Nims leans the other way, eschewing formality to nudge, and sometimes shove, Michelangelo's vocabulary toward the slangy, abrupt, and colorful: "howdy-do" for addio is oddly American (no.