verb (used with object)

to address with some form of salutation; welcome.
to meet or receive: to be greeted by cheering crowds; to greet a proposal with boos and hisses.
to manifest itself to: Music greeted his ear as he entered the salon.

verb (used without object)

Obsolete. to give salutations on meeting.

Origin of greet

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

Synonyms for greet


[greet]Scot. and North England Archaic.

verb (used without object)

to grieve; lament; cry.

verb (used with object)

to lament; bewail.

Origin of greet

before 900; Middle English grete, Old English grǣtan; cognate with ON grāta, Gothic gretan Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for greet

Contemporary Examples of greet

Historical Examples of greet

  • But I had no time to say another word to him, as I turned to greet Mrs. Marshall.

  • But what dignitary is this crossing from the other side to greet the governor?

    Main Street

    Nathaniel Hawthorne

  • Napoleon, indeed, was scarce able to greet his visitor pleasantly.

  • She did not greet him in any way, but turned her head to address commands.

    The Leopard Woman

    Stewart Edward White

  • He hurried home so that he might be there to greet her when she returned from her work.

    The Foolish Lovers

    St. John G. Ervine

British Dictionary definitions for greet



verb (tr)

to meet or receive with expressions of gladness or welcome
to send a message of friendship to
to receive in a specified mannerher remarks were greeted by silence
to become apparent tothe smell of bread greeted him

Word Origin for greet

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




(intr) to weep; lament


weeping; lamentation

Word Origin for greet

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 greet

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