American English

Definition of hello exclamation from the Oxford Advanced American Dictionary



    exclamation, noun
    , NAmE//hɛˈloʊ//
    , NAmE//ˈhɛloʊ//
    (pl. hellos)
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  1. 1used as a greeting when you meet someone, when you answer the telephone, or when you want to attract someone's attention Hello John, how are you? Hello, is there anybody there? Say hello to Liz for me. They exchanged hellos (= said hello to each other) and forced smiles.
  2. 2(informal) used to show that you think someone has said something stupid or is not paying attention Hello? You didn't really mean that, did you? I'm like, “Hello! Did you even listen?”
More Aboutgreetings Hello is the most usual word and is used in all situations, including answering the telephone. Hi is more informal and is now very common. How are you? or How are you doing? (very informal) often follow Hello and Hi:“Hello, Mark.” “Oh, hi, Kathy! How are you?”The usual response is Fine. How are you? Good morning is often used by members of a family or people who work together when they see each other for the first time in the day. It can also be used in formal situations and on the telephone. In informal speech, people may just say Morning. Good afternoon and Good evening are much less common. Good night is not used to greet someone, but only to say goodbye late in the evening or when you are going to bed. If you are meeting someone for the first time, you can say Pleased to meet you or Nice to meet you (less formal). Some people use How do you do? in formal situations. The correct reply to this is How do you do? If you are meeting someone with whom you have spoken or communicated at length on the telephone or over e-mail, you might say It's good to finally meet you or It's good to put a face with your name (less formal).

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