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[he-loh, huh-, hel-oh] /hɛˈloʊ, hə-, ˈhɛl oʊ/
(used to express a greeting, answer a telephone, or attract attention.)
(an exclamation of surprise, wonder, elation, etc.)
(used derisively to question the comprehension, intelligence, or common sense of the person being addressed):
You're gonna go out with him? Hello!
noun, plural hellos.
the call “hello” (used as an expression of greeting):
She gave me a warm hello.
verb (used without object), helloed, helloing.
to say “hello”; to cry or shout:
I helloed, but no one answered.
verb (used with object), helloed, helloing.
to say “hello” to (someone):
We helloed each other as though nothing had happened.
Also, especially British, hullo.
1865-70; variant of hallo Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for hello
  • Everywhere she goes residents shout hello or come up to ask for advice.
  • He made the mistake of dropping by one October afternoon to say hello.
  • She decided to stop in to say hello.
  • They look through us when we try and say hello.
  • When I enter the country store, locals greet me with a smile and hello.
  • The audience was made up primarily of women, and they were talking to one another and waving hello across the folding chairs.
  • Just interrupting the flow to say hello and I hope everyone is doing well.
  • So goodbye to delusion, distraction and division, hello to unity and resolve.
  • hello, thank you for your article, it is truly inspiring.
  • She lifts her hand in the gesture she has seen her grandchildren use to wave an eager hello.
British Dictionary definitions for hello


/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 something: Hello? Have you been on Mars for the past two weeks or something?
noun (pl) -los
the act of saying or calling "hello"
Word Origin
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
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Word Origin and History for 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
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hello in Technology
The Free On-line Dictionary of Computing, © Denis Howe 2010
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