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Why we say Hello on Phone as the Word of Communication?

Why we say Hello on Phone as the Word of Communication?

On the phone, we always begin a conversation with the word Hello. Similarly, we use it to introduce ourselves or to meet someone on the way. Communication has become easier both over the phone and in person with this word. In this article, we’ll discover why we say hello on the phone.

“Hello” is one of the most common words in English”. For most of the children, the first words they say are “mama” and “dada”. After that, however, it is easy to learn ‘hello’. You receive a call from an unknown number. How do you respond? It’s simple. You tap the ‘answer’ button, and say “Hello.” You pick up the call and say “Hello.” 

You learn “hello” when learning a new language for a reason: It’s a great way to introduce yourself, get someone’s attention, and convey your friendliness.

However, you may not know the origin of “hello” despite its popularity. Have we always used it as a greeting? In the past, was another word used instead? What is the purpose of saying ‘Hello’ when we answer the phone?

Our discussion will focus on how this word was used before the invention of the telephone. The study will also reveal other words besides ‘hello’ which were used in communication, including their meanings.

What does Hello Mean?

We have been using this word in order to attract the attention of an individual or a group of individuals. In either case, it is used to initiate a conversation between two known individuals or two unknown individuals. The most common way to start a conversation is with hello, whether it is a casual meeting or a professional one.

It has become an unwritten convention to use this word. Our daily phone calls begin with this phrase several times a day. It became popular in the 1830s when it was used for greetings. Despite its unknown origin, anecdotes dated back to 1827 prove its existence.

The term was previously used to express surprise and to attract attention from someone. As a result, it has become quite popular and is now used almost everywhere, regardless of the language spoken by the user. The invention of the telephone led to the popularity of using this word. It was Alexander Graham Bell, who invented the telephone, who urged the use of Ahoy, but it was Thomas Edison who popularised hello.

History of the word “Hello”!

It takes its origin from the French word ‘Hello’. By breaking it down, we find that ‘Ho’ means ‘Ahoy’ and ‘La’ means ‘there’. We find ‘Holá’ as the closest relation to Hello when we combine both words. A person using this word was instructed or requested to stop working or to pay attention to what the other person is saying. Through the history of the ‘Hello’ word, we can see how communication terms have evolved.

Hello turns out to be the word used to make someone stop what they’re doing and pay attention. Eventually, this word became widely popular among mobile telephone users.

Why Do We Say Hello on the Phone?

Globally, this word gained a great deal of popularity. In most cases, it was seen among Americans. With the inclusion of ‘hellow’ in the dictionary, its spelling also changed. The word was used to greet someone on the way or start a conversation.

Since the invention of the telephone, we have been able to communicate with people who are not nearby. Due to this, the word hello has become increasingly popular. The greeting has a soothing tone and is shorter than Ahoy.

The above discussion revealed that Thomas Edison invented Hello. It was clear to him that hello was a much better way to communicate on the phone.

Other Alternatives Used instead of Hello

English has different ways of saying Hello. To spark a conversation, we use different words and replace these single words with other words. In order to provide other ways of communicating on the phone, we have configured other ways of using Hello.

We often use “Hello, how are you?” to begin a conversation with someone. Also, these terms are used over the phone and in person.

Eventually, the phrase ‘hi how are you?’ became common as a greeting alongside the word hello. You can use it with anyone, regardless of their gender or age. You may also be surprised to learn that the Americans have shortened the British greeting ‘how do you do?’ to ‘Howdy’. During the Colonial Era or the 17th Century, it became widely popular in the Wild West.

With changing places and people, the terms for greeting and communicating changed as well. Although the origin is the same, the usage has defined how we address others or greet them.


This article has focused on the origins of the word Hello and how we have used it to greet people for centuries. Throughout history, this word has been used differently. Though the meaning of the greeting remains the same, the words change.

Hello has evolved over time. We have seen a lot of change even in the terms we use to greet one another. There are also common words used in different countries that show the influence of colloquial languages.

Here is a brief history and trivia of the word hello. Telephone companies popularised it to a great extent, and we continue to use it today. Whether it’s a phone call or a face-to-face meeting, this word proves how convenient it is to greet someone.

Also published on Medium.

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