Where Did the Greeting “Hello” Come From When We Answer the Telephone and What Does the Word Mean?

The first word used to answer the phone was the nautical greeting “ahoy” because the first regular phone system was in the maritime state of Connecticut.

Alexander Graham Bell, the inventor, answered with the Gaelic “hoy”.

But it was Thomas Edison’s greeting of “hello,” an exclamation of surprise dating back to the Middle Ages, that caught on, and so we answer the telephone today with, “Hello?”

About Karen Hill

Karen Hill is a freelance writer, editor, and columnist. Born in New York, her work has appeared in the Examiner, Yahoo News, Buzzfeed, among others.

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