"Halloo" = "hello," as simple greeting

Jonathan Lighter wuxxmupp2000 at YAHOO.COM
Thu Aug 11 02:43:31 UTC 2005

There's no doubt here that "halloo" (predecessor of "hello") was already established as a simple greeting, as distinguished from a cry for attention or an indicator of surprise :

1833 _Proceedings_ (Old Bailey) (May 16) 470  [ http://www.oldbaileyonline.org/facsimiles/1830s/183305160016.html ] _Q._ In what way had he come into the shop? _A._  When he came in he said, "Halloo Harry," in a friendly way, holding out his hand - I said, "Halloo George, who should have thought of seeing you here."

Much earlier, but nearly as unambiguous are the following. Note that in 1786 ex., the appropriate response is also "Halloo.":

1765 _Proceedings_ (Old Bailey) (Feb. 27) 90 [ http://www.oldbaileyonline.org/facsimiles/1760s/176502270011.html ] I heard a foot coming along pretty briskly from out of the fields: when he came opposite me, I pushed out; I had my lanthorn under my coat; I opened my coat and drew it out: I said, halloo, my friend, what have you got here?

1766 _Proceedings_ (Old Bailey)  (Feb. 19) 125[  http://www.oldbaileyonline.org/facsimiles/1760s/176602190035.html ]  I was a long time before I got out of the ditch: there came a lad that had been robbed; he said, halloo; I said, halloo, who are you. I have been robbed said he. I said, so have I.

1767 _Proceedings_ (Old Bailey) (Sept. 9)  311  [ http://www.oldbaileyonline.org/facsimiles/1760s/176709090055.html ]   I knocked at an alehouse door, to see if I could get a dram; this was on the 9th of August, past one at night, I could not get in; the prisoner stopped me, and said halloo, where are you going; I said, I am going home; she said if I would go backwards, she could get some liquor.

1784 _Proceedings_ (Old Bailey) (Sept. 15) 1195  [ http://www.oldbaileyonline.org/facsimiles/1780s/178409150147.html ] I have seen Pearman before, but I did not know Nash, and then Thomas Defee came up, and said halloo, he said, he knew them.

1786 _Proceedings_ (Old Bailey) (Feb. 22) 406 [ http://www.oldbaileyonline.org/facsimiles/1780s/178602220110.html  And he says to me, halloo, hostler; I said, halloo, Atkins and Shallard.


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