Posted by Smokey Stover on July 24, 2005
In Reply to: How the devil are you posted by Kev Williams on July 24, 2005
: Where does the greeting "How the devil are you?" when meeting an acquaintance come from.
In "How the devil..." the devil is just added for emphasis, in this case reflecting, presumably, that fact that the speaker hasn't seen the spoken to for quite a while, or that something has happened to the spoken to which makes the question a real one, rather than a perfunctory or oratorical one. The speaker could also have said, "How the heck (How the hell) are you?" or any number of similar variations. Whence comes it? Ah, how is that to be known? Perhaps someone else can advise you better than I. SS