Posted by David FG on December 22, 2006
In Reply to: How do you do posted by Walrus on December 22, 2006
: Meaning and origin of the phrase 'how do you do' . . and how is it properly answered
I don't know the origin, but it is a formulaic way of saying 'hello'. It is nothing more than a greeting.
In the UK/Ireland it is considered the formal, 'proper' form of greeting, and the 'correct' answer (according to those who compile books of guidance on etiquette) is 'how do you do' in return.
One should simply reply in kind and not attempt to answer the question.