Ahoy, Dr. Bell speaking

Did you know that the word hello did not enter the dictionary until 1883? And that it was a relatively rare greeting until Thomas Edison suggested it as a way of answering the recently-invented telephone?

Me either.

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  1. so…. what was the informal greeting used at the time?

  2. Wonder if it was just an adaptation of “allo” in French and “hallo” in German.

  3. “Hello’ is attested in American papers back to the 1820’s. Variants of the sound used to attract attention over fields or across waterways goes far back in Italian, French, German, Spanish and Dutch, hence the similarities today in those languages. Variants (‘hollo’, ‘hollow’) are found in Shakespeare. In the 1880’s phone operators were known as ‘Hello Girls” after the greeting gained popularity.

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