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See also: helló


Alternative forms[edit]


Hello (first attested in 1826), from holla, hollo (attested 1588). This variant of hallo is often credited to Thomas Edison as a coinage for telephone use, but its appearance in print predates the invention of the telephone by several decades.

Ultimately from a variant of Old English ēalā, such as hēlā, which was used colloquially at the time similarly to how hey and (in some dialects) hi are used nowadays. Thus, equivalent to a compound of hey and lo. Used when drawing attention to yourself.

Possibly influenced by Old Saxon halo!, imperative of halōn (to call, fetch), used in hailing a ferryman, akin to Old High German hala, hola!, imperative forms of halōn, holōn (to fetch). More at hallo.


  • (UK) IPA(key): /həˈləʊ/, /hɛˈləʊ/
    • (file)
  • (US) enPR: hĕ-lō', hə-lō', IPA(key): /hɛˈloʊ/, /həˈloʊ/, /ˈhɛloʊ/
  • (General Australian) IPA(key): /həˈləʉ/
Sense UK US
(telephone greeting):
(call for response):
(sarcastic implication):
(expressing puzzlement):



  1. A greeting (salutation) said when meeting someone or acknowledging someone’s arrival or presence.
    Hello, everyone.
  2. A greeting used when answering the telephone.
    Hello? How may I help you?
  3. A call for response if it is not clear if anyone is present or listening, or if a telephone conversation may have been disconnected.
    Hello? Is anyone there?
    • 1913, Joseph C. Lincoln, chapter 7, in Mr. Pratt's Patients:
      I made a speaking trumpet of my hands and commenced to whoop “Ahoy!” and “Hello!” at the top of my lungs. [] The Colonel woke up, and, after asking what in brimstone was the matter, opened his mouth and roared “Hi!” and “Hello!” like the bull of Bashan.
  4. (colloquial) Used sarcastically to imply that the person addressed has done something the speaker considers to be foolish, or missed something that should have been obvious.
    You just tried to start your car with your cell phone. Hello?
  5. (chiefly UK) An expression of puzzlement or discovery.
    Hello! What’s going on here?

Usage notes[edit]

  • The greeting hello is among the most universal and neutral in use. It may be heard in nearly all social situations and nearly all walks of life and is unlikely to offend.
  • In the derived senses, the word-final stress may be emphasized to focus attention, but word-initial stress is also heard in certain contexts, such as some uses of hello there, and even in isolation.




Derived terms[edit]


  • Amharic: ሀሎ (halo)
  • Chinese: 哈嘍哈喽 (hālou)
  • Malay: helo
  • Scottish Gaelic: halò


The translations below need to be checked and inserted above into the appropriate translation tables. See instructions at Wiktionary:Entry layout § Translations.

See also[edit]


hello (plural hellos or helloes)

  1. "Hello!" or an equivalent greeting.
    • 2007 April 29, Stephanie Rosenbloom, “A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood”, in New York Times[1]:
      In many new buildings, though, neighbors are venturing beyond tight-lipped hellos at the mailbox.


Derived terms[edit]


hello (third-person singular simple present hellos or helloes, present participle helloing, simple past and past participle helloed)

  1. (transitive) To greet with "hello".
    • 1891, Records and Briefs in Cases Decided by the Supreme Court of Minnesota, page 227:
      She is there guarding and looking after the candy and the children generally, and she helloes and renders an exclamation that Maidie is crossing the street.
    • 1927, Ohio State Engineer, page 18:
      He helloes to my daughter: []
    • 2012, Mark Dolan, Do You Mind if I Put My Hand on it?: Journeys into the Worlds of the Weird, HarperCollinsPublishers, →ISBN:
      ‘Hello Minka! Great to meet you!’ Minka seems nonplussed at what I thought was an uncontroversial opening remark. There’s an awkward pause. She then helloes me back. But that’s all I get.
    • 2013, Ivan Doig, English Creek, page 139:
      I had to traipse around somewhat, helloing people and being helloed, before I spotted my mother and my father, sharing shade and a spread blanket with Pete and Marie Reese and Toussaint Rennie near the back of the park.




From English hello.



  1. (anglicism) hello, hi

Further reading[edit]



(This etymology is missing or incomplete. Please add to it, or discuss it at the Etymology scriptorium.).


hello ngo (plural hellooji ɗi)

  1. a page
  2. one side of a wall, a wall
  3. a slap in the face