Nearby words

  1. hellish,
  2. hellishly,
  3. hellkite,
  4. hellman,
  5. hellman, lillian,
  6. hello money,
  7. hells canyon,
  8. helluva,
  9. helm,
  10. helm port

Also especially British, hullo.

Origin of hello

First recorded in 1865–70; variant of hallo

Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for hello


British Dictionary definitions for hello

hello

hallo or hullo

/ (hɛˈləʊ, hə-, ˈhɛləʊ) /

sentence substitute

an expression of greeting used on meeting a person or at the start of a telephone call
a call used to attract attention
an expression of surprise
an expression used to indicate that the speaker thinks his or her listener is naive or slow to realize somethingHello? Have you been on Mars for the past two weeks or something?

noun plural -los

the act of saying or calling "hello"

Word Origin for hello

C19: see hallo

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 hello

hello

1883, alteration of hallo, itself an alteration of holla, hollo, a shout to attract attention, which seems to go back to at least c.1400. Perhaps from holla! "stop, cease." OED cites Old High German hala, hola, emphatic imperative of halon, holon "to fetch," "used especially in hailing a ferryman." Fowler lists halloo, hallo, halloa, halloo, hello, hillo, hilloa, holla, holler, hollo, holloa, hollow, hullo, and writes, "The multiplicity of forms is bewildering ...." Popularity as a greeting coincides with use of the telephone, where it won out over Alexander Graham Bell's suggestion, ahoy. Central telephone exchange operators were known as hello-girls (1889).

Hello, formerly an Americanism, is now nearly as common as hullo in Britain (Say who you are; do not just say 'hello' is the warning given in our telephone directories) and the Englishman cannot be expected to give up the right to say hello if he likes it better than his native hullo. [H.W. Fowler, "A Dictionary of Modern English Usage," 1926]
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper