This is a popular explanation of the etymology of the word hello, seen in many email forwards:

When you lift the phone, you say "Hello".

Do you know what is the real meaning of "Hello" It is the name of a girl.

Yes .... and do you know who is that girl

Margaret Hello. She was the girlfriend of Graham bell who invented the telephone. One can forget the name of Graham bell but not his girlfriend - that is Love !!!! or whatever....

Now you know ... well it is much better that pick up the phone and say "Margaret".

Was Bell involved with a woman named Margaret Hello and is that the reason the word "hello" was popularized?

  • 13
    A quick look at Alexander Graham Bell would reveal that he was engaged to Mabel Hubbard at the time.
    – Mark
    Commented Nov 7, 2015 at 20:48
  • @Mark And who is to say Bell didn't have a bit on the side? ;-)
    – Ken Y-N
    Commented Nov 8, 2015 at 23:33
  • 2
    Also, Bell wanted people to use "Ahoy" instead. It was Edison that wanted people to use Hello. npr.org/sections/krulwich/2011/02/17/133785829/… The downvotes are probably because "someone told me". That is a pretty non-notable claim, and closing it as such. Commented Nov 9, 2015 at 2:21
  • 1
    @LarianLeQuella How is it a non-notable claim? Snopes has a article on it. It is usually circulated using facebook and e-mail forwards.
    – Lincity
    Commented Nov 13, 2015 at 10:57
  • @Alaukik now that the question received an edit, I see it has been reopened. Keep in mind, just stating "someone told me" or "I saw on facebook" isn't quite enough for this site, and why it was initially closed and downvoted. Closing allows you a chance to bring the question in line with the standards of the site while not continuing to get the negative reputation. There was no intent of punishment or chastising. Commented Nov 16, 2015 at 4:33

1 Answer 1



Thomas Edison is in fact credited with the first use of the word Hello on the telephone, and the etymology of the word is well documented.

Furthermore, Graham Bell was engaged to Mabel Gardiner Hubbard at the time of the first phone call (and in fact had been courting her for some time), who he eventually went on to marry.

There is, in fact, a Snopes article on this hoax.

  • Did Bell also want to use "ahoy!" instead of "hello" anyway? Or is that a myth too?
    – Seth
    Commented Nov 8, 2015 at 4:10
  • 4
    Actually, that is a little off. The general consensus appears to be he suggested "ahoy-hoy".
    – Jonathon
    Commented Nov 8, 2015 at 4:22
  • Ahh.. Still eons away from "hello" however.
    – Seth
    Commented Nov 8, 2015 at 4:23
  • 1
    But there does appear some inconsistencies in the specifics, everyone agrees that he either used "ahoy", or "ahoy. ahoy", or possibly "ahoy-hoy"
    – Jonathon
    Commented Nov 8, 2015 at 4:29
  • Let alone that Bell is considered the inventor of the telephone only in the US, whereas there's historical evidence that this is not the case
    – Sklivvz
    Commented Nov 9, 2015 at 1:57

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