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  1. the act or words of a person who greets.
  2. a friendly message from someone who is absent: a greeting from a friend in another country.
  3. greetings, an expression of friendly or respectful regard: Send my greetings to your family.

Origin of greeting

before 900; Middle English, Old English gretinge. See greet1, -ing1
Related formsgreet·ing·less, adjective


verb (used with object)
  1. to address with some form of salutation; welcome.
  2. to meet or receive: to be greeted by cheering crowds; to greet a proposal with boos and hisses.
  3. to manifest itself to: Music greeted his ear as he entered the salon.
verb (used without object)
  1. Obsolete. to give salutations on meeting.

Origin of greet1

before 900; Middle English greten, Old English grētan; cognate with German grüssen
Related formsgreet·er, noun


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1. hail, accost.


[greet]Scot. and North England Archaic.
verb (used without object)
  1. to grieve; lament; cry.
verb (used with object)
  1. to lament; bewail.

Origin of greet2

before 900; Middle English grete, Old English grǣtan; cognate with ON grāta, Gothic gretan
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for greeting

Contemporary Examples

Historical Examples

  • I pray you, Alleyne, to give him greeting from me, and to ask him for his titles and coat-armor.

    The White Company

    Arthur Conan Doyle

  • So, he disregarded Gilder's greeting, and went on speaking to the son.

    Within the Law

    Marvin Dana

  • It would be well, perchance, that you should give him greeting from me.

    The White Company

    Arthur Conan Doyle

  • They did not speak beyond their greeting, until he had gone over the record.


    Mary Roberts Rinehart

  • The good lady, oblivious to the humorous side of her greeting, flushed in anger.


    W. A. Fraser

British Dictionary definitions for greeting


  1. the act or an instance of welcoming or saluting on meeting
  2. (often plural)
    1. an expression of friendly salutation
    2. (as modifier)a greetings card


verb (tr)
  1. to meet or receive with expressions of gladness or welcome
  2. to send a message of friendship to
  3. to receive in a specified mannerher remarks were greeted by silence
  4. to become apparent tothe smell of bread greeted him

Word Origin

Old English grētan; related to Old High German gruozzen to address


  1. (intr) to weep; lament
  1. weeping; lamentation

Word Origin

from Old English grētan, northern dialect variant of grætan; compare Old Norse grāta, Middle High German grazen
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012

Word Origin and History for greeting


Old English greting "salutation," verbal noun from gretan (see greet). Related: Greetings. First record of greeting card is from 1876.



Old English gretan "to come in contact with" (in sense of "attack, accost" as well as "salute, welcome," and "touch, take hold of, handle"), from West Germanic *grotjan (cf. Old Saxon grotian, Old Frisian greta, Dutch groeten, Old High German gruozen, German grüßen "to salute, greet"), perhaps originally "to resound" (via notion of "cause to speak"), causative of Proto-Germanic *grætanan, root of Old English grætan (Anglian gretan) "weep, bewail," from PIE *gher- "to call out." Greet still can mean "cry, weep" in Scottish & northern England dialect, though this might be from a different root. Grætan is probably also the source of the second element in regret. Related: Greeted; greeting.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper