How to Say Hello in Hindi: Guide to Hindi Greetings

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Written By Jessica Knight

Founder of Linguatics. Passionate multilinguist.

Join us as we take you through the best ways to say “hello” in the Hindi language.

Like any other language, there are many ways to greet someone in Hindi that go beyond a simple“hi”.

Because of the variety of religions practiced throughout India and the mixture of languages spoken, there are many ways that people might stop to say hello to you. 

We really can’t stress how diverse the Hindi-speaking community is and how many ways you could greet someone in Hindi.

So, to boost your beginner’s vocab we will dive into formal and informal Hindi greetings for any time of day, such as “good morning” and “good afternoon.” Finally, we’ll examine some alternatives that are religion and region-based.

You will learn plenty of different ways to say “hello” in Hindi by the time we are through with you!

Saying “Hello” in Hindi – A Foreword

The majority of Indian people tend to speak a blend of Hindi and Urdu.

It’s a big place with a rich and diverse culture, many practicing Muslims will greet you in Arabic and lots will even use English.

The generation gap is something else to consider. Adults will tend to stick to formal and correct ways to say hello in traditional Hindi, while youths will tend to use slang and casual greetings more akin to “What’s up?”.

Regardless of the diversity you will encounter along the way,  If you want to greet Indian people with “Hello,” Hindi is the place to start. So let’s get to it. 

Basic Options to Say “Hello” in Hindi

Basic Options to Say “Hello” in HindiEnglish MeaningOccasionTime – Specific
नमस्ते (NamaSTe)The most common way to say “hello.”Formal & InformalNo
नमस्कार (NamaSkaar)Hello.Formal & InformalNo
अस-सलाम-अलैकुम (aS-SaLaam-aLaikum)A common way to say “hello” among Muslims.Formal & InformalNo
आदाब (aaDaab)A common word for “hello” among Muslims.Formal & InformalNo
सत् श्री अकाल(SaT srii akaaL)A common greeting among Sikhs.Formal & InformalNo

नमस्ते (NamaSTe)

We are pretty sure you might already be familiar with this word even without contemplating learning Hindi!

“नमस्ते” (Namaste) is a word that the whole world is familiar with, be it from the movies or a local yoga class.

The root of the word (Namaha) means to bend, we bend when we bow our heads to someone, an ancient mark of respect, the word has evolved to mean greet or salute, and the “te” suffix is how you change the verb to add a subject. So the literal translation is “greetings to you.” 

It is a beautiful greeting that means a little more than “Hello” on a deeper spiritual level, it is more the recognition of the other person’s soul. In the ancient texts of the Vedas, it is mostly used for saluting the divine.

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But when it comes to saluting somebody you meet in India, you really can’t go wrong with a respectful “नमस्ते” (NamaSTe). 

It is ideal for use no matter the circumstances as it is suitable for formal and informal use. It is easy to pronounce and remember and is your best option for a versatile “hello” in Indian countries.

If you want to expand your “नमस्ते” (NamaSTe) a little then you could say “Hello, how are you?” It is formally and informally acceptable and considered polite to follow up your “hello” with a question especially if you are catching up with a friend or meeting someone for the first time.

Here’s how you can use “नमस्ते” (NamaSTe) to introduce yourself in Hindi:

नमस्ते, मेरा नाम रीमा है।

(NamaSTe, meraa Naam riimaa hai.)

“Hello, my name is Reema.”

नमस्कार (NamaSkaar)

Although these days “नमस्ते” (NamaSTe) has become more respectful because younger Indians say “hi” in “cooler” more casual ways, the genuine way to address someone and mark their authority or status with respect is to use “नमस्कार” (NamaSkaar).

The two Hindi words are interchangeable and both mean “hello” but people will generally use “नमस्कार” (NamaSkaar) with work colleagues or their elders.

Here it is in use:

नमस्कार, आपका स्वागत है।

(NamaSkaar, aapakaa SvaagaT hai.)

“Hello, you’re most welcome.”

अस-सलाम-अलैकुम (aS-SaLaam-aLaikum)

If you have ever visited a predominantly Muslim country then you may have heard them using something that sounds very similar to this next Urdu phrase.

“अस-सलाम-अलैकुम” (aS-SaLaam-aLaikum) is another formal (and informal) way to say “hello” in India, It is an Islamic greeting adapted from the Arabic language. The word “Salam” means “peace” and the literal translation is  “May peace be upon you.”

Hindi speakers that practice Islam will often say “hello” in Urdu interchangeably with their Hindi!

The appropriate way to respond to “अस-सलाम-अलैकुम” (aS-SaLaam-aLaikum)is with a reversal of the phrase “वा-अलैकुम-सलाम” (vaa-aLaikum-SaLaam). You can probably guess, but this means “And, may peace be upon you too”!

Despite being Urdu, the phrase is much more commonly encountered in Hindi”  than you might think. If a festive Eid celebration is depicted on TV or in movies then it is often used and non-muslim Hindi speakers understand it.

Let’s take a look at it in use:

अस-सलाम-अलैकुम भाई जान, कैसे हैं?

(aS-SaLaam-aLaikum bhaaii jaaN, kaiSe hain.)

“Hello brother, how are you?”

आदाब (aaDaab)

Another Muslim greeting that has also been adopted that is used daily is “आदाब” (aaDaab).

It comes from the Arabic root word for respect and politeness, once again it was borrowed by Urdu speakers and is recognized in Hindi as a popular way to greet people.

“आदाब” (aaDaab) can be used to address single individuals or groups.

It is typically said whilst using a gesture that is also named aaDaab. You raise your right hand with your palm turned inwards towards your face in front of your eyes, while bowing your upper body.

The full phrase in Devanagari script is “आदाब अर्ज़ है” (aadaab arz hai). It means “I give you my respects”.

People respond with “आदाब” (aaDaab).

सत् श्री अकाल (SaT srii akaaL)

Just like the Muslim-inspired greetings that have been adapted into Hindi life, you will find plenty of Sikh expressions.

A common greeting you might hear is “सत् श्री अकाल” (SaT srii akaaL), spoken by Sikhs and Punjabi people. 

It comes from a longer greeting with deep meaning “जो बोले सो निहाल सत् श्री अकाल” (jo boLe So NihaaL, Sat srii akaaL) or “Blessed is the person who says that God is Truth.” but is mostly used in its short form “सत् श्री अकाल” (SaT srii akaaL) to mean “hello”.

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सत् श्री अकाल जी, कैसे हो आप?

(SaT srii akaaL jii, kaiSe ho aap?)

“Hello, how are you?”

Formal Greetings in Hindi (Time-Specific)

Formal Greeting in Hindi (Time-Specific)English MeaningOccasionTime – Specific
सुप्रभात (SuprabhaaT)“Good Morning.”FormalYes
शुभ संध्या (subh SaNDHyaa)“Good Evening.”FormalYes
शुभ रात्रि (subh raaTri)“Good Night.”FormalYes

When it comes to news stories and interviews on TV or radio you will find the following time-specific phrases used to greet the viewer or listener. You can also use them as “hello” instead of “नमस्ते” (NamaSTe), at the right time of day, of course!

सुप्रभात (SuprabhaaT)

At the start of each new day, you can formally greet people with “good morning” in place of “hello”. The way to say that in Hindi is with the word “सुप्रभात” (SuprabhaaT).

Although it is more or less a direct translation, Indian speakers do not use the phrase “good morning” nearly as often as we do, so be warned it is considered very formal.

You will hear it in many broadcasts and a boss may use it to start a meeting with subordinates.

Let’s examine it in use:

सुप्रभात, आज के समाचार कुछ इस प्रकार हैं।

(SuprabhaaT, aaj ke Samaacaar kuch iS prakaar hain.)

“Good morning, here’s the latest news for today.”

शुभ संध्या (subh SaNDHyaa)

In much the same way you can use “सुप्रभात” (SuprabhaaT) when it is late in the day. Essentially, it means, “good evening.”

Once again it is natively reserved for formal use.

शुभ रात्रि (subh raaTri)

Lastly, as we are discussing times of day, we are including “शुभ रात्रि” (subh raaTri). It is the Hindi  phrase for “good night.”

However, it isn’t a substitute for “hello” as it is used as more of a “goodbye”. We have added it simply as it’s relevant.

Casual Ways of Saying “Hello” in Hindi 

Casual ways of saying “Hello” in HindiEnglish MeaningOccasionTime – Specific
कैसे / कैसी हैं आप?(kaiSe/kaiSii hain aap?)“How are you? / How do you do?”InformalNo
क्या हाल हैं?(kyaa haaL hain?)“How’ve you been? / How are you doing?”InformalNo
सलाम (SaLaam)A common way to say hello among Muslims.InformalNo
सब कैसा चल रहा है?(Sab kaiSaa caL rahaa hai?)“How’s everything going on?”InformalNo
कई दिनों बाद मिलना हुआ! (kaii DiNon baaD miLaNaa huaa)“Long time! / It’s been a long time!”InformalNo
और बताइये!(aur baTaaiye)“So, what’s up?”InformalNo
कहाँ हो आज कल?(kahaan ho aaj kaL?)“Where are you these days?”InformalNo

In this section, we are going to take a look at informal ways to say hello and greet people in Hindi.

This is where you will find more creative ways to say “hi” and talk about yourself

As a beginner, these phrases are going to be useful for making new friends and socialising with locals.

कैसे / कैसी हैं आप? (kaiSe/kaiSii hain aap?)

First up, you might want to know how to say “How are you?”. The informal Hindi equivalent is “कैसे हैं आप?” (kaiSe hain aap?) and they use it commonly to say “hi” to a friend.

Remember you need to conjugate this one to “कैसी हैं आप” (kaiSii hain aap?), if you are addressing women, like in the following example:

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अरे चाची जी, कैसी हैं आप?

(arey caacii jii, kaiSii hain aap?)

“Hello aunty, how are you?”

क्या हाल हैं? (kyaa haaL hain?)

Among younger Hindi speakers you will hear the friendly phrase “क्या हाल हैं?” (kyaa haaL hain?). It means something along the lines of “How have you been?” or “How are you doing?”

It should never be used for a formal situation but is perfect for use with friends. 

Below is an example of it being used for a single friend and a group of friends so you can see how the words change for the plural:

और दोस्त, क्या हाल हैं ?

(aur DoST, kyaa haaL hain?)

“So/Hello my friend, how are you doing?”

और दोस्तों, क्या हाल हैं ?

(aur DoSTon, kyaa haaL hain?)

“So/Hello friends, how are you doing?”

सलाम (SaLaam)

So we already showed you the formal Muslim greeting “अस-सलाम-अलैकुम” (aS-SaLaam-aLaikum) which you may have found a bit tricky as a beginner.

If you mastered it, then the good news is you already know the informal version for casual use.

It is simply a shortening of the phrase; “सलाम” (SaLaam), it means “peace” and is essentially like saying “hi” or “hey”.

सलाम शफ़ीक़ भाई, कहाँ जा रहे हैं?

(SaLaam Shafiiq bhaaii, kahaan jaa rahe hain?)

“Hello, Shafiq bro, where are you going?”

सब कैसा चल रहा है? (Sab kaiSaa caL rahaa hai?)

With close friends that you care about you might like to throw out a “How’s everything going on?” or “How’s it going?”. 

The phrase you want in that case would be “सब कैसा चल रहा है?” (Sab kaiSaa caL rahaa hai?).

कई दिनों बाद मिलना हुआ (kaii DiNon baaD miLaNaa huaa)

Another casual greeting that will make you blend in with the locals is “कई दिनों बाद मिलना हुआ।” (kaii DiNon baaD miLaNaa huaa).

It is a bit of a mouthful, granted!

“कई दिनों बाद मिलना हुआ।” (kaii DiNon baaD miLaNaa huaa) means “It’s been a long time.” It is used as casually as “long time, no see”!

अरे वाह, सतीश ! कई दिनों बाद मिलना हुआ !

(arey vaah, saTiis! kaii DiNon baaD miLaNaa huaa!)

“Oh wow, Satish! Long time!”

और बताइये (aur baTaaiye)

Now for some real slang! “और बताइये” (aur baTaaiye) is the slang way to say “hello” in Hindi and roughly equates to “So, what’s up?” in English.

Some younger demographics put a modern twist on it further, saying “और बताओ!” (aur baTaao) instead.

 कहाँ हो आज कल? (kahaan ho aaj kaL?)

One final Hindi phrase to learn, perfect for those you bump into or haven’t seen in a while is “कहाँ हो आज कल?” (kahaan ho aaj kaL?). 

The English translation could be considered “Where are you these days?”. You could use it in the same way as “where have you been?” if you haven’t caught up with the person recently.

Greeting Friends Colloquially

Before we finish the article we wanted to leave you with some examples of useful words and phrases that are relationship specific.

यार (yaar)

“यार” (yaar) is a casual affectionate word for friend akin to “buddy.” It is genderless and very informal, don’t use it to address your elders or any authority figure.

Example:

चल यार, कुछ खाते हैं।

(caL yaar, kuch khaaTe hain.)

“Come on buddy, let’s eat something.”

दोस्त (DoST)

Similarly, you might want to use the word “दोस्त” (DoST) which is like “mate.”

और दोस्त , कैसे हो ?

(aur DoST, kaiSe ho?)

“Hey mate, how are you?”

Pet Names

If you are greeting someone you are in a relationship with then you might want something more flirtatious.

Unlike western countries, Indian people do not flirt outside of a proper relationship, they are more reserved, and certain behavior is expected culturally.

The following phrases are for someone special, not for use with someone you have just met!

“ओ मेरे हीरो!” (o mere hero) is a phrase Hindi-speaking women might use when they address a handsome man.

As you can hear from the pronunciation, this one means “oh, my hero” but as there is no word for handsome in Hindi, it substitutes for “hello handsome”.

But what about when you’re dating someone? There are pet names for your loved one in every language, and Hindi is no exception.

For guys looking to woo a woman you might want to say “शोना” (soNaa) or “मेरी प्यारी” (merii pyaarii) to say “Hello, my sweet”or you could हसीना (haSiiNaa) to say “Hello, beautiful girl”.

Whichever you choose, keep it discreet. Indian culture is conservative publicly. These innocent pet names are vulgar to use publicly.

Hello in Hindi – Final Thoughts

So, now you know exactly how to say “hello” in Hindi however formal a situation you find yourself in.

We are confident with the phrases we have explored you will have come away with a few new ways to confidently greet a Hindi Speaker.

Being a multilingual land with diverse religious practices, you have plenty of alternatives to choose from. 

Regardless of which you choose, we hope that today you have come away with a good idea of when and where to use each example.

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