Meaning of “hello” in the English Dictionary

british dictionary

"hello" in British English

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helloexclamation, noun

uk /heˈləʊ/ us /heˈloʊ/ also mainly UK hallo, hullo

A1 used when meeting or greeting someone:

Hello, Paul. I haven't seen you for ages.
I know her vaguely - we've exchanged hellos a few times.
I just thought I'd call by and say hello.
And a big hello (= welcome) to all the parents who've come to see the show.

A1 something that is said at the beginning of a phone conversation:

"Hello, I'd like some information about flights to the US, please."

something that is said to attract someone's attention:

The front door was open so she walked inside and called out, "Hello! Is there anybody in?"

informal said to someone who has just said or done something stupid, especially something that shows they are not noticing what is happening:

She asked me if I'd just arrived and I was like "Hello, I've been here for an hour."

old-fashioned an expression of surprise:

Hello, this is very strange - I know that man.

More examples

  • Cathy poked her head round the door to say hello.
  • When he said hello, I felt my face turn bright red.
  • Hello - could I speak to Ann, please?
  • After we'd said our hellos, it all went quiet and nobody knew what to do.
  • Oh, hello - what are you doing in here?

(Definition of “hello” from the Cambridge Advanced Learner’s Dictionary & Thesaurus © Cambridge University Press)

"hello" in American English

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helloexclamation, noun [ C ]

us /heˈloʊ, hə-/ plural hellos

used when meeting or greeting someone:

"Hello, Paul," she said, "I haven’t seen you for months."
I know her vaguely – we’ve exchanged hellos a few times.
Come and say hello to my friends (= meet them).

Hello is also said at the beginning of a telephone conversation.

Hello is also used to attract someone’s attention:

She walked into the shop and called out, "Hello! Is anybody here?"

(Definition of “hello” from the Cambridge Academic Content Dictionary © Cambridge University Press)

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