How do you answer the phone?

I’ve been searching the internet to find out why we say “Hello?” when answering the phone in the United States, and surprisingly, that is not what the father of the invention suggested!  It would seem that Alexander Graham Bell, when he invented the telephone in 1875, wanted people to answer the phone by saying “Ahoy.”

Ahoy (interjection) is a nautical term used when hailing a ship or to get attention.  In the movies (since few travel by ship these days) you will hear someone calling out “ship ahoy” or “ahoy matey” or even “land ahoy.”  Used this way it might make sense that Bell suggested this as the manner in which one should answer a call on his brand-new telephone.  However, it did not catch on. And thank goodness!  Can you imagine phoning a friend and hearing, “Ahoy!” on the other end? 

It is said that Thomas Edison suggested that the greeting “Hello?” be used instead. It caught on. 

There is more than one place to look for this information, but here is one link for you:

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *