The invention of the telephone made the previously obscure greeting “hello” wildly popular. Before the telephone, people had wished each other good mornings, days and nights. But as the person on the other end of the line might not deserve a “good day”, people needed an alternative.
It’s said that Alexander Bell insisted on beginning phone calls with the nautical term “ahoy”, but that didn’t catch on and “hello” became the standard english greeting.
Found in: Michael Forsyth, The Etymologicon
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