shout to call attention, 1781, earlier hollo, holla (also see hello). "Such forms, being mere syllables to call attention, are freely varied for sonorous effect" [Century Dictionary]. Old English had ea la. Halow as a shipman's cry to incite effort is from mid-15c.; Halloo as a verb, "to pursue with shouts, to shout in the chase," is from late 14c. Compare also harou, cry of distress, late 13c., from French.
1580s as a command to get attention, in which use it belongs in the group with hello, hallo. From 1520s as a command to "stop, cease," from French holà (15c.), which "Century Dictionary" analyzes as ho! + la "there." As an urban slang form of holler (v.) "greet, shout out to," it was in use by 2003.
greeting between persons meeting, 1848, early references are to the U.S. western frontier (where hello, the house was said to be the usual greeting upon approaching a habitation).
It is an alteration of hallo, itself an alteration of holla, hollo, a shout to attract attention, which seems to go back at least to late 14c. (compare Middle English verb halouen "to shout in the chase," hallouing). OED cites Old High German hala, hola, emphatic imperative of halon, holon "to fetch," "used especially in hailing a ferryman." Fowler in the 1920s listed halloo, hallo, halloa, halloo, hello, hillo, hilloa, holla, holler, hollo, holloa, hollow, hullo, and writes, "The multiplicity of forms is bewildering ...."
Its rise to popularity as a greeting (1880s) coincides with the spread of the telephone, where it won out as the word said in answering, over Alexander Graham Bell's suggestion, ahoy. Central telephone exchange operators were known as hello-girls (1889).
Hello, formerly an Americanism, is now nearly as common as hullo in Britain (Say who you are; do not just say 'hello' is the warning given in our telephone directories) and the Englishman cannot be expected to give up the right to say hello if he likes it better than his native hullo. [H.W. Fowler, "A Dictionary of Modern English Usage," 1926]
in All-Hallows, a survival of hallow in the noun sense of "holy personage, saint," attested from Old English haligra but little used after c. 1500. Hallowmas "All-saints" is first attested late 14c.
Old English halgian "to make holy, sanctify; to honor as holy, consecrate, ordain," related to halig "holy," from Proto-Germanic *hailagon (source also of Old Saxon helagon, Middle Dutch heligen, Old Norse helga), from PIE root *kailo- "whole, uninjured, of good omen" (see health). Used in Christian translations to render Latin sanctificare. Related: Hallowed; hallowing.
also Hallow-e'en, Hallow e'en, "last night of October (the eve of All Saints Day) as a popular holiday," 1781, in a Scottish context, a Scottish shortening of Allhallowe'en, All Hallows even, etc., 1550s, "the evening before All-Hallows." This is from otherwise-obsolete hallow (n.), in Middle English halwe, "holy person, saint," from Old English halga, which is from the source of hallow (v.). Also see even (n.), and compare hallows.
All-Hallows is Middle English al-halwe, late Old English ealra halgan "all saints, the saints in heaven collectively," also the name of the feast day and of individual churches. The date Oct. 31 is described as alle halwe eue by c. 1300. Hallow-day for "All-Saints Day" is from 1590s; earlier was halwemesse day (late 13c.). Hallowtide (15c.) was the first week of November.
The last night of the year in the old Celtic calendar, where it was Old Year's Night, a night for witches. A pagan holiday given a cursory baptism. The word and the magical lore about the date were popularized by Burns' poem (1785, and he attached a footnote explaining it), but it probably dates to 17c. in Scotland and is the name of a tune in 1724. The tune is mentioned again in an English-Scots songbook ("The Chearful Companion") in 1783, and Burns was not the first to describe the customs in print.
Hallow-E'en, or Holy Eve, is the evening previous to the celebration of All Saints. That it is propitious to the rites of divination, is an opinion still common in many parts of Scotland. [John Main, footnote to his poem "Hallow-E'en," Glasgow, 1783]
Old English heall "spacious roofed residence, house; temple; law-court," any large place covered by a roof, from Proto-Germanic *hallo "covered place, hall" (source also of Old Saxon, Old High German halla, German halle, Dutch hal, Old Norse höll "hall;" Old English hell, Gothic halja "hell"), from PIE root *kel- (1) "to cover, conceal, save."
Sense of "passageway in a building" evolved 17c., from the time when the doors to private rooms opened onto the large public room of the house. Older sense preserved in town hall, music hall, etc., in use of the word in Britain and Southern U.S. for "manor house," also "main building of a college" (late 14c.). French halle, Italian alla are from Middle High German. Hall of fame attested by 1786 as an abstract concept; in sporting sense first attested 1901, in reference to Columbia College; the Baseball Hall of Fame opened in 1939. Related: Hall-of-famer.