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DonkeyBoi's News

Posted by DonkeyBoi - July 7th, 2022


Hello, with that spelling, was used in publications in the U.S. as early as the 18 October 1826 edition of the Norwich Courier of Norwich, Connecticut.[1] Another early use was an 1833 American book called The Sketches and Eccentricities of Col. David Crockett, of West Tennessee,[2] which was reprinted that same year in The London Literary Gazette.[3] The word was extensively used in literature by the 1860s.[4]

Etymology

According to the Oxford English Dictionaryhello is an alteration of hallohollo,[1] which came from Old High German "halâholâ, emphatic imperative of halônholôn to fetch, used especially in hailing a ferryman".[5] It also connects the development of hello to the influence of an earlier form, holla, whose origin is in the French holà (roughly, 'whoa there!', from French  'there').[6] As in addition to hellohalloo,[7] hallohollohullo and (rarely) hillo also exist as variants or related words, the word can be spelt using any of all five vowels.[8][9][10]

The use of hello as a telephone greeting has been credited to Thomas Edison; according to one source, he expressed his surprise with a misheard Hullo.[11] Alexander Graham Bell initially used Ahoy (as used on ships) as a telephone greeting.[12][13] However, in 1877, Edison wrote to T. B. A. David, president of the Central District and Printing Telegraph Company of Pittsburgh:

Friend David, I do not think we shall need a call bell as Hello! can be heard 10 to 20 feet away. What you think? Edison - P.S. first cost of sender & receiver to manufacture is only $7.00.[11]

By 1889, central telephone exchange operators were known as 'hello-girls' because of the association between the greeting and the telephone.


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