Why do we answer the phone with hello? We are conditioned to answer the phone with “Hello” because it’s an accepted greeting in the English language. Hello is attested in writing for the first time in 1826. It’s related to the phrase “alo,” which is derived from the Old High German word “hala” (pronounced ha-lo). Halon’s imperative was used to call ferrymen.
The greeting has an interesting history. Before the telephone came along, people were encouraged to greet telephone calls with “ahoy.” However, Thomas Edison encouraged us to use “hello” and this changed the way we answer the phone. However, Alexander Graham Bell didn’t like the concept and continued to use “ahoy” as his telephone greeting. The phrase “ahoy” remained popular until the 1880s, when it was replaced by “hello”.
It’s not clear exactly when the word “hello” came into use. Many sources indicate that the word originated in the telephone book, which featured authoritative “How To” sections. Alexander Graham Bell believed that it would catch on as the perfect conversation opener. Although “hello” is the most common greeting in the English language, the word ‘ahoy’ actually has a richer history. And despite its simple origins, “ahoy” has become one of the most commonly used greetings around the world.
Before the telephone was invented, people used “hail” or “hollo” to greet a caller. The words were used as salutations in the Middle Ages. The first telephone was invented in 1876 by Alexander Graham Bell, and it was a very expensive piece of equipment. Bell intended the word ‘ahoy’ to become the standard phone greeting, but other manufacturers tried to change it.