How now brown cow? is a cheerful alternative to asking “how are you?”.
It is often taught in elocution as a way of demonstrating the rounded vowel sound “ow” (aʊI).
A popular hypothesis behind the origin of the phrase goes back to 18th century Scotland, where “brown cow” was supposedly said as a slang expression for a barrel of beer.
In this sense “how now brown cow?” would be used for asking another pint in the local pub.
This theory, however is unsupported by any sources.
The first documented case of “how now brown cow?” emerges from a 1942 print of The Capital.
Over the years, the phrase became popular with people, with children often using it thanks to its harmonious sound.
It would appear in various contexts, even uttered by movie characters in flicks such as Anchorman or The Avengers.
“How now brown cow?” was first defined on Urban Dictionary in 2005.
- Bookbrowse.com – How Now, Brown Cow?