Ahoy! Hello? Hallo, hollo!

July 30, 2014 11:56 am

With our dedisay_hellocation to contributing to neologisms, we’d like to elaborate on a word, which is considered an important aspect of everyday life. About two centuries ago, the words we use today were seemingly unknown, but yet on the rise of becoming ‘mainstream’. Sounds familiar?

A new word is created as a response to outside stimuli, in that there is a need to describe a new type of technology, environment, personality, disorder, or any other kind of new phenomena. According to this definition, all words must once have been neologisms.

What about the word ‘Hello’? Its first use can be traced back to 1833, but with the invention of the telephone the word got its significance. In this week’s video fix, the comedian Michael McIntyre will shed some light on the origin of this famous word.

Hello is an alteration of hallo, hollo, which supposedly derived from Old High German. What is interesting to point out is that before the telephone became a common instalment in every home, the word had been of little use. Indeed, as McIntyre points out, the greeting ‘Ahoy!’, as used on ships, could have been used instead. Apparently, the only reason why Ahoy did not make the audition was because Thomas Edison said that yelling through the telephone set would not make the person on the other line hear you any better.

Bummer? Would you rather have yelled “Ahoy, dad!” when, for example, your father calls? I agree.

To cheer you up, here’s a link to our Neologism Page at TermCoord. Our continuously updated database offers a wide range of new words, and with our never-ending search, more of them are to be added!




By Oscar Larsson
Student at University of Glasgow, School of Social & Political Sciences
Communication Trainee at TermCoord

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