Publishing Partner: Cambridge University Press CUP Extra Publisher Login
amazon logo
More Info

Ask-A-Linguist Message Details

Subject: The word 'hi'
Question: What is the origin the word 'hi'? Also, as a word, is it globally recognised?
Reply: According to the Oxford English Dictionary, the greeting 'hi' goes back to 1475, when it was mainly a call for attention (now usually spelled as 'hey'). A greeting and a call for attention are very similar. We also use names in both functions. The greeting 'hi' probably developed from this in the USA, where a 'hi' meaning 'hello' is first attested in 1862. As far as I know, 'hi' is now used as an informal greeting all over the world, and you should find it in any English dictionary. I am British, living in Australia, have lived in Singapore, am married to someone from India, and have travelled widely. I use 'hi' myself and hear it all over. Of course it is globally used! I'm surprised anyone might think it's not. Anthea
Reply From: Anthea Fraser Gupta      click here to access email
Date: 16-Dec-2012
Other Replies:
  1. Re: The word 'hi'    James L Fidelholtz     (13-Dec-2012)

Back to Most Recent Questions