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When people greet us by 'howdy howdy', what is the best reply to it? Is it also used in British English?

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    Hi, Des! Good to see you! Welcome! Been a while! Wazzup! Hihiyu! O joy O rapture unforeseen! – StoneyB Apr 15 '13 at 11:20
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    All of @Stoney's answers are good (well, maybe the last one is questionable), but, only one or two at a time, not all at once. – J.R. Apr 15 '13 at 12:23
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    @Des: "howdy" is a contraction of "howdy do", which is itself a (primarily south US) contraction of "how do you do". The point is that "howdy" is a synonym for "hello", so any standard response to "hello" (including howdy, hello, hi, nice to meet you, what's up?, how are you doing?, how are you? etc) are all valid responses. "Howdy howdy" is a jovialisation of "howdy" - so any jovial standard response to "hello" is valid, hence StoneyB's slightly tongue-in-cheek response. – Matt Apr 15 '13 at 12:48
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    @PersianCat .. That of course is the important question. Holding your hand out limply and responding, with a total absence of affect, "How do you do. I am Dr. Cat" will often quench your interlocutor's unseemly familiarity. See Potter, Gamesmanship (1947) and subsequent works. – StoneyB Apr 15 '13 at 13:09
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    @DeniseSkidmore I'm American, of Deep Southern extraction, and quite comfortable with that sort of forthcomingness; but Persian Cat, to whose question I was responding, appears to belong to a less extroverted community. – StoneyB Apr 15 '13 at 15:16
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Howdy is a contraction of "howdy do", which is itself a (primarily south US) contraction of "how do you do", which is a synonym for hello.

For this reason, any standard response to "hello" is a valid response to "howdy":

hello

howdy

hi

how are you?

What's up?

how you doin'? (esp. NY)

"Howdy howdy" is a jovial form of "howdy", and hence (as StoneyB alluded in a slightly tongue-in-cheek way above), it would be acceptable to respond in a similarly jovial manner, such as

Hey!

Howdy howdy!

Hihi!

How've ya been?

Whazzup!

Yo! How ya' doin!

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