Definition of hello in English:


(also hallo, hullo)


  • 1Used as a greeting or to begin a telephone conversation.

    ‘hello there, Katie!’
    • ‘Ships' horns toot, children wave and call hello, and every morning you're awakened by the haunting call of the muezzin from some distant village mosque.’
    • ‘I haven't seen her in over a year, and yesterday she just strolls casually up to me and says hello!’
    • ‘So Bob, if you are out there, drop in and say hello!’
    • ‘I thought it summed up what I wanted to say and it also is a way to say hello!’
    • ‘‘Oh, hello,’ she'd said to Brett, evidently surprised to see him standing in her kitchen with her daughter.’
    • ‘Tlingit people do not use such greetings as hello, good-bye, good afternoon, or good evening.’
    • ‘I was stunned and I said I'm surprised anyone says hello to me ever in the mall or in the store after reading that.’
    • ‘It was a pleasant surprise when Sheila Sheridan came over to say hello.’
    • ‘If you haven't met Joy yet, pop over to her site and say hello!’
    • ‘Logan didn't say hello, but I hadn't expected a greeting.’
    • ‘She whispered hello, then began to make her way to her room, where she hoped to take a nap.’
    • ‘He was a little surprised since he had already said hello to her that morning.’
    • ‘Quentin is surprised to see Maggie, and says hello.’
    • ‘But we had a surprise in store for Caroline when we said hello after the show.’
    • ‘But instead of a normal greeting like saying hello or something, they hugged.’
    • ‘A man standing in line at the check-out counter of a grocery store was surprised when an attractive woman behind him said hello.’
    • ‘Ric's upset when he finds out that Alf returned from the USA the day before and didn't even say hello!’
    • ‘‘Hullo, hullo!’ the first one exclaimed brightly.’
    • ‘‘Oh, hello,’ she said acting surprised to see the four boys staring at her.’
    • ‘The next day when Daniel came in, she started the normal conversation of ‘Hello, how are you?’ ‘Fine, and you?’’
    1. 1.1British Used to express surprise.
      ‘hello, what's all this then?’
      • ‘My second thought is, hello, it's still snowing!’
      • ‘And hello, what is this and why haven't I heard about it before?’
    2. 1.2 Used as a cry to attract someone's attention.
      ‘‘Hello below!’ he cried’
      • ‘I yelled hello upstairs as I began to head up to see if I could help Mrs. Bishop out.’
    3. 1.3 Used informally to express sarcasm or anger.
      ‘Hello! Did you even get what the play was about?’
      • ‘But - hello - they're only 15, and they're only playing at being grown up.’
      • ‘Every gathering she beds another partner who isn't her husband, hello!’
      • ‘I have wanted to re-watch it like a DVD or something, but I couldn't because, hello!’
      • ‘You are supposed to be able to keep up with my voice, hello!’
      • ‘Umm… hello, the world just ended, everyone seems bizarrely unaffected, like the predicted deep freeze has already reached their brains.’
      • ‘My parents are chuckling - I guess more of my reaction than their news, but I mean, hello!’
      • ‘They sit in classrooms and cannot hear the teachers so, hello, it is no surprise that we are unable to get good outcomes from our education system.’
      • ‘The girl is finding love on the telephone, hello!’
      • ‘Excuse him for picking that awful blue hue - I had always told him to let me pick the color to match with his chestnut-blondish hair, but hello!’
      • ‘She turned down the offer to sing the theme to the TV show… hello!’
      • ‘Okay, so maybe costs rose by more than 1% in that period, and maybe sales dropped earlier in the year, but hello!’
      • ‘She must have been really stupid to have mimicked me… I mean, hello!’
      • ‘Like we have time for a life - hello!’
      • ‘But as I was saying, so here I am in the library, panicking because the glue stick has just run out - and it's totally bad form to use tape because I mean, hello!’
      • ‘She is living a more fortunate life than (most of) you, hello?’
      • ‘Yeah, that might sound totally rude of me to say, but hello!’
      • ‘I mean, it's nice in the way he wants to serve my sexual needs, but hello!’
      • ‘I mean, not that we have that all the time, coz hello!’
      • ‘I mean - hello - this is just kind of a witty, fun movie.’
      • ‘Over the last two days I have been flooded with porn site IMs… hello!’


  • An utterance of ‘hello’; a greeting.

    ‘she was getting polite nods and hellos from people’
    • ‘In the midst of a long round of hellos and goodbyes, the European Commissioner responsible for Agriculture, Rural Development and Fisheries has been in fighting form over all the issues that matter to him.’
    • ‘My local Chinese shop owner always greets me with a big smile and a friendly hello!’
    • ‘Instead, she found herself surrounded by well-dressed, accomplished individuals offering English hellos, hot coffee and fresh pastries.’
    • ‘I received a few sympathetic smiles and polite hellos.’
    • ‘He led her to the elevators, nodding hellos to various service people in the lobby.’
    • ‘When our paths just crossed, we gave polite hellos and tight-lipped smiles and then continued on our ways.’
    • ‘Riley slowly made her way to the bar greeting various friends and classmates with smiles and brief hellos.’
    • ‘It wasn't unusual for her to get happy hellos and welcoming grins, but today was different.’
    • ‘Colin Spencer still stood by the desk no one signed in at; and he still smiled and nodded his hellos and goodbyes to every oblivious face that passed him by as though he was host to this year's biggest A-list birthday bash.’
    • ‘We didn't get the chance to get together this visit, but we had nice phone conversation and a waved hello.’
    • ‘They sauntered past us and nodded their hellos in our general direction.’
    • ‘He half-heartedly nodded his greetings at several gentlemen who'd yelled their hellos to him from across the room, but he was too driven to stop.’
    • ‘They nodded their hellos, Lisa heading straight for business.’
    • ‘The band members chuckled at me, nodded their hellos, and went back to warming up.’
    • ‘When their eyes met, she grinned wickedly in an informal hello.’
    • ‘Waving polite hellos, I pretended to listen into what was turning out to be a very boring conversation about stocks and bonds.’
    • ‘Suddenly I noticed that my hellos in Thai were returned with a wrinkled-up nose and avoidance.’
    • ‘It is extraordinary how much can be achieved when you put enthusiasm into a routine task, a special project or a simple hello or conversation.’
    • ‘After a couple of polite hellos and a social drink, excuses were made and a wave of relief washed over everyone as they shut the car door.’
    • ‘With little more than a hello, I began to reread the letter that was in my hand.’
    greeting, welcome, salutation, saluting, hailing, address, hallo
    View synonyms


  • Say or shout ‘hello’

    ‘I pressed the phone button and helloed’
    • ‘He halloed me back and set about making some more porridge.’
    • ‘‘Hi Kirsten,’ he helloed, obviously calling me Kirsten on purpose.’
    • ‘After all the helloing and such, he would sit down and talk to me in a gruff, military kind of way.’


Early 19th century: variant of earlier hollo; related to holla.