When texting or sending direct messages, some people like to add extra “y”s at the end of “hey”. For some mysterious reason, this is most often used when flirting. The longer the tail of “y”s, the flirtier the message! More than three or four looks a little bit desperate though…
Knowing a few British English greetings will make you seem especially friendly when traveling to the UK, showing from the very first impression that you want to engage with the local culture. Here are some British “hello”s, perfect for testing out on the Queen, or on your mates down the pub!
When greeting each other in a formal setting, British people are more likely to describe it as “lovely” to meet someone than “nice”. If you travel to the UK, you will notice that many people use the word “lovely” to mean the same as “fine” in American English. To British English speakers, it sounds kinder and more sincere.
19. Are you OK?
This is a British slang version of “Hello. How are huggle you?” If your friend greets you like this, you can respond with “yeah, fine” or, if you want to sound even more British, “not bad” – which means exactly the same thing.
20. Alright, mate? / Alright?
This is a very common slang way to say a chilled-out “Hi” to a friend. It is a shortened version of “Are you alright?”. Once again, a suitable and friendly answer is “Not bad, mate, you?”
This is a very common way of saying “hello”, especially in the North of England. It is also used a lot in text messaging.
22. What’s the craic?
This greeting is only used in Ireland, and “craic” is pronounced to rhyme with the English words “crack” and “back”. It is a very warm phrase which means, “what is new with you?” or “have you got any interesting new gossip since we last met?”
Be careful though: if you use this phrase to greet someone Irish and are not Irish yourself, it is possible that they might think you are making fun of them!
Hungry for some more British slang? Check out our guide to the 40 most memorable British slang words for ESL learners
It is very difficult to be funny in a new language (or difficult to be funny on purpose, at least!). Being able to understand and make jokes is often even seen as a sign of fluency. If you are still in the process of learning, slipping a silly or old-fashioned version of “hello” into a conversation is a simple way to make someone laugh.
If you are learning English to chat with a partner or friends, surprising them with one of these weird conversation starters can be very funny. Here are some less serious “hellos” and tips on when to try them for maximum effect.
This is a very old greeting that dates all the way back to Old English, and was once used by sailors to call ships. Nowadays, it is only really spoken by Spongebob and other ocean-based cartoon characters. It is just as silly when written in a text message as in person.
24. Hello stranger!
This is sometimes used when greeting friends that you haven’t seen in a little while. It is a jokier version of “long time, no see”.
25. ‘Ello, gov’nor!
This is a shortened version of “Hello, governor”, a greeting used by tradespeople in Victorian London, to show respect when talking to upper class members of society. Dropping the “H” from the “Hello” is intended to make the pronunciation sound similar to the famous “cockney” accent, associated with the East of London. Today, it is only really used by people teasing their British colleagues!