Wiktionary Dictionary


Alternative forms

  • hallo (UK old style)
  • hilloa (obsolete)
  • hullo (UK)


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 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/
  • (US) enPR: hĕ-lō', hə-lō', IPA(key): /hɛˈloʊ/, /həˈloʊ/, /ˈhɛloʊ/
  • Rhymes: -əʊ



  1. A greeting (salutation) said when meeting someone or acknowledging someone’s arrival or presence.
  2. A greeting used when answering the telephone.
    • 2016, VOA Learning English (public domain)
      Hello. This is Marsha. - Yes, Marsha.
  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.
  4. (colloquial) Used sarcastically to imply that the person addressed or referred to has done something the speaker or writer considers to be foolish.
  5. (chiefly Britain) An expression of puzzlement or discovery.

Usage notes

  • 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.


  • For quotations using this term, see Citations:hello.


  • (greeting): See Thesaurus:hello
    • (Australia, informal) g'day, hey, hi,
    • (UK, informal) hallo, hi, hiya, ey up
    • (US, informal) hallo, hey, hi, howdy
    • (Ireland, informal) how's it going, hey, hi
    • (South Africa, informal) howzit
    • (slang) wassup, what's up, yo, sup, what's good
  • (expression of puzzlement): See Thesaurus:wow


  • (greeting): bye, goodbye

Derived terms

  • hello girl
  • hello there
  • Hello World
  • hello yourself, and see how you like it


See also

  • Category:Greetings
  • hello on Wikipedia.Wikipedia


hello (plural hellos or helloes)

  1. "Hello!" or an equivalent greeting.


  • greeting

Derived terms

  • say hello to my little friend


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

  1. (transitive) To greet with "hello".


  • Holle



(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


  • Oumar Bah, Dictionnaire Pular-Français, Avec un index français-pular, Webonary.org, SIL International, 2014.