The primary sense is uncertain; the senses of early occurrence in continental Teutonic are ‘to approach’, ‘to call upon’, ‘to provoke or compel to action’, ‘to attack’, ‘to irritate, annoy’, ‘to address, salute’, In modern German and Dutch as in English, the sense ‘salute’ has become the prominent one, such other senses as survive being now apprehended as transferred from this. The ultimate etymology is equally uncertain with the radical meaning; many scholars refer the word to Old Aryan *ghrd-: ghrd- to resound, on which supposition the primary sense should be ‘to call on’; another view is that the Teutonic root *grôt- is an extension of the root which appears in Greek as with the sense ‘to approach closely, touch’, etc.
- Date: before 12th century
- 1 : a salutation at meeting
- 2 : an expression of good wishes : regards —usually used in plural <holiday greetings>
- 3: In various senses which did not survive beyond Old English.: To approach, come up to; to begin upon, begin to treat or handle, take in hand.
- 4: To assail, attack. Obs. (After 15th c. prob. only as a transferred or ironical use of sense.
- 5:a. To accost or address with the expressions of goodwill or courtesy usual on meeting; to offer in speech or writing to (a person) the expression of one's own or another's friendly or polite regard. Now only literary. Formerly often to greet (a person) fair, friendly, well.
- b. To salute with words or gestures; transf. to receive at meeting or arrival with some speech or action (whether friendly or otherwise) in lieu of salutation.
Greeting is an act of communication in which human beings (as well as other members of the animal kingdom) intentionally make their presence known to each other, to show attention to, and to suggest a type of relationship or social status between individuals or groups of people coming in contact with each other. While greeting customs are highly culture- and situation-specific and may change within a culture depending on social status and relationship, they exist in all known human cultures. Greetings can be expressed both audibly and physically, and often involve a combination of the two. This topic excludes military and ceremonial salutes but includes rituals other than gestures. Greetings are often, but not always, used just prior to a conversation. Some epochs and cultures have had very elaborate greeting rituals, e.g., greeting of a king. Secret societies have clandestine greeting rituals that allow members to recognize common membership.