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What is the etymology of hello?

Hello is an alteration of hallo (which previously was holla or hollo) - a shout to call attention. Hello dates to 1883 and has become the most frequently used greeting, especially on a telephone. Legend has it that Thomas Edison was the first to say hello on the telephone. However, the first telephone exchange, which was set up in New Haven, Connecticut in 1878, answered the phones with "Ahoy, ahoy!" The word hello is also used to express surprise and it can be used as a verb, with the inflected forms being helloed, helloing, helloes.

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