Have you ever wondered why people say “Hello?” when they greet someone or pick up a phone call? Well, my random mind just did.
So I looked up on the internet on why “Hello” is a common greeting in English, and in this case specifically, when you answer a phone call. Surprisingly, there was an interesting history behind this word.
This word actually were not used for greetings in the first place. I know, I know. I too was like, what?
According to the Oxford English Dictionary, the first published use of the word “hello” was in 1827. At that time, the word was not used as a common greeting as it is now.
Originally, people in the 1830s said “hello” to attract attention. They would say, “Hello, what do you think you’re doing?” where today we often replace with “Excuse me”. They would also say the word to express surprise, like: “Hello, what have we here?”.
So how did “Hello” become a common greeting?
Well, here’s how. According to the dictionary, it was Thomas Alfa Edison who put hello into common usage by urging the people who used his phone to say “hello” when answering. On the other hand, Alexander Graham Bell preferred “ahoy” as the greeting.
Then why do we use “hello” until this very day? It turned out that this was because of the telephone book. Back in the days, first phone books included authoritative How To sections on their first pages and “hello” was frequently the officially sanctioned greeting.
If I have to choose, personally I think “ahoy” has a nice ring to it and just feels more friendly, almost like pirates greeting each other. (Not to mention it reminds me of this cookie that I like so much)
Well, that was random, but now we know. And how about you? Do you prefer “hello” or “ahoy”? Leave your answers in the comment sections!