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How do you do hello?

Hello written artistically on a notepad

I said Good afternoon the other day, and realised I hardly ever do. It got me thinking about how boring my greetings are. I’m a yawny old Hello, or Morning if I’m confident of the time. I’ve been considering my options.

The novella I’m editing has Where from? as the greeting, because dystopia. I’ve ruled that one out. My husband says Greetings, which is one of a kerzillion reasons I love him, but I’m my own woman so I've discounted that too.

Me and my sister have our own fond greeting, which is too rude to type let alone fire at innocent strangers. A friend and I have taken to saying Jazz bats for hello and goodbye, but unfortunately not everyone’s silly.

So, I’ve widened my search. Predictably, Sniffy Neg (my inner critic) has argued against doing anything too interesting, and Gonzo (my creative mind) insists we should invent our own greeting.

Before I go any further, I’m wondering if any of the hellos below, real and fictional, tickle your fancy – and I’d love to hear the greetings you’ve invented.

All the hellos and Sniffy's verdict on our using them

  • Good day / good morrow

  • How do you do?

  • What ho

  • Salutations

Sniffy’s verdict – require a top hat to be effective.

  • Hello, sailor

  • Oooh, look at you

  • How’s your belly off for spots?

Sniffy’s verdict – too flirty.

  • Wotcha

  • Nanu nanu

Sniffy’s verdict – we did that in the 80s and we’re not doing it again.

  • Now then

  • Howdy

  • Oi-oi

  • Ey up/ Ey up, duck/ Ey up me duck

  • Alreet marra?

  • Owt fresh?

Sniffy’s verdict – only if you do the accent (please don’t do the accent).

  • Word up / yo

  • What’s up / sup?

Sniffy’s verdict – not at our age, thank you.

  • What cheer?

  • How now?

Sniffy’s verdict – we’d look absurd in doublet and hose.

  • Hail / Hail be thou

  • Well met

  • Peace be upon you

  • I am you, and you are another me

  • Bright suns

  • Long days and pleasant nights

Sniffy’s verdict – no matter how hard you wish, we’re not characters in a fantasy novel.

  • Live long and prosper

  • Qapla (Klingon)

  • Achuta (Huttese)

  • Hoi (City Speak)

  • Welly, welly, welly, welly, welly, welly, well (Nadsat)

Sniffy’s verdict – science fiction isn’t real, you know.

  • Ahoy, there

Sniffy’s verdict - it's a bit too piratey.

Hopefully, you found a hello you liked so much you'll try it out for a week. If not, there are more in this smashing informatic about fantasy languages. Or, you might enjoy these 15 alternatives to hello, where I picked up ahoy.


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