Difference Between Hi and Hello

Hi vs Hello

Hi and hello are forms of greeting. They are normally used at the start of a conversation when meeting a person or persons. They are normally interchangeable; however, there are some cases where it is prudent to use one over the other.


Hello as defined by the dictionary means ‘an expression or gesture of greeting; to answer a telephone; or to express surprise’. This is commonly used when you are either meeting a person or when you are introduced to a person or group of persons. The Oxford English Dictionary mentions that the word may have been an alliteration of an Old High German word of “halâ” which was used to hail a ferryman.


Hi is a word used for greeting as well. Hi is properly defined as an informal ‘hello’ or an expression that is used to attract attention. Hi is commonly used in informal and casual situations and where no authority is usually expressed or is needed to be recognized. This is normally used among friends or peers. There are certain situations however, that using ‘hi’ would not be appropriate.

Difference between Hi and Hello

Hi and hello are practically interchangeable in their usage. They mean the same thing, and are used for the same purpose. However, ‘hello’ is more formal and is appropriately used in formal occasions or in greeting persons of authority. ‘Hi’ as mentioned earlier is more casual and is used among peers and equals. ‘Hello’ is also more appropriate for speeches with a formal setting, like a public address. ‘Hi’ can also be used for speeches however it is not recommended and should only be used when not addressing anybody of official importance, like ambassadors and other public figures.

The major difference between these two words is that hello is more formal than hi. Other than that, you are free to use them as you want.

In brief:

1. Hello is a word for greeting and is considered appropriately used in formal situations.

2. Hi is also a word for greeting however it is informal or casual. This should not be used in formal settings and should only be used if addressing friends and equals.

  • Strawhat

    Hi! c:

  • Михаил Иванов

    Great article. Thank you.