What does this phrase mean?

I've heard this phrase from time to time and now I'm curious to find out what it means.

PHRASE: How now brown cow

What does it mean? Where does it come from?


11 Answers

  • Anonymous
    1 decade ago
    Best Answer

    Here's a an excerpt:

    "How now brown cow" is a phrase used in elocution teaching to demonstrate rounded vowel sounds. Each "ow" sound in the phrase represents an individual diphthong. The phrase does not have an explicit meaning per se but can be used as a light-hearted greeting. It was used in the 2004 movie Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy. Although the exact origins of the phrase are unclear, it can be dated to at least 1942 in the United States. In February of that year the Maryland newspaper The Capital mentioned the phrase when discussing a famous thespian's voice:

    Laird Cregar, now contributing his booming voice to 'Ten Gentlemen from West Point': explains how he got it. When he first tried out for the Pasadena Community Playhouse his voice wouldn't carry past the front rows. Coach Belle Kennedy had him declaim 'How, Now, Brown Cow? and The Rain in Spain Still Stains' - over and over.

    Good luck to you.

    Source(s): Wikipedia.
  • 1 decade ago

    Those four words roll off the tongue as a lighthearted way of asking "What's up? What's next?" And that tripping lightly stuff makes sense, since "How now, brown cow" has its origin in elocution, where the phrase was used to demonstrate properly rounded vowels. Each "ow" sound in the phrase represents an individual diphthong.

  • 1 decade ago

    It's just a speaking exercise. It really has no meaning, but I've heard people use it as a greeting before.

  • Nick
    Lv 4
    1 decade ago

    it was also in the movie Anchorman: the legend of ron burgandy

    he was looking in a mirror saying how now brown cow

    whats its used for? my guess is making sure youre pronouncing words right and speaking clearly

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  • 1 decade ago

    it helps with speech formation. there are a lot of them: many mumbling mice are making merry music in the moonlight; whether the weather is cold or whether the weather is hot, we'll be together whatever the weather whether we like it or not. this one can be used to distinguish the 2 weather/whether in writing. they are used in theater also for the help with annunciation on stage so the audience can distinguish words :) things like this go back so far, but i don't know for sure where they originated.

  • holly
    Lv 7
    1 decade ago

    How now brown cow is a speaking exercise. I learnt that in eloction classes at school.

  • 1 decade ago

    i agree with the other guy it's a speaking exercise like "the rain in spain falls stays mainly in the plain". it's just to get the the person to open their mouth when they speak and not speak throught their teeth. but people do use it to say "what's up?" sometimes. it's not cute.

  • 1 decade ago

    It originally meant nothing. It was part of an enunciation drill. For a while is was a popular greeting.

  • 1 decade ago

    It's just a speaking exercise

  • Anonymous
    1 decade ago

    it doesn't 'mean' anything, its a vocal exercise to teach people to pronounce their words properly and make their o's have a nice oo sound.

    its british.

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