how come

how come

Meaning

  • why or how
  • ask a question
  • why did something happen?
  • saying you don’t understand
  • why is that?
  • used to ask about the reason for something

Example Sentences

  1. How come you are not going to the party?
  2. How come the building collapsed?
  3. You received the wedding invitation, how come I didn’t?
  4. How come that sports car has a low price?
  5. How come you are always late for our meetings, yet you stay across the street?
  6. The sun is hot today. How come you have winter clothes?
  7. How come Russia produces the minimum food waste per capita?

Origin

According to etymology, the idiom “how come” is a short form of “how does it come to be?” The earliest reference in the Oxford English Dictionary (OED) for the idiom “how come” appears in Bartlett’s Dictionary of Americanisms, published in 1848. Although the OED claims that “how come” was invented in the United States, Bartlett’s article shows that it was coined in England. It reads, “Doubtless an English phrase, brought over by the original settlers.

Whether or not “how come” came from the United States, it is far more popular in American English than in British English.

There are several different older records of the phrase available which claim to be the oldest. But the fact remains that the phrase began to appear in print as early as the 1500s. A search in Google Books confirms it. Since most of the books are from England, it reinforces the fact that the idiom actually originated in England and later became more common in America.

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