\ ˈhā How to pronounce hey (audio) \

Definition of hey

1 used especially to call attention or to express interrogation, surprise, or exultation Hey, Tigs, the '80s are over, man. Time to lose that orange Mohawk.The Arizona Republic"Hey Rob," growls Russ [Winfield, designer], picking a potato off the back seat. "What are these doing back here?"— Katherine SilbergerGlenn Miller… said he was forming a band and asked if I was interested in joining. I thought, "Hey, this may not be bad. …"— Tex Beneke
2 used as an informal greeting Hey, how's it going?"Hey, professor," a man in a worn overcoat says to Wilson, extending a calloused hand… "Hey, man," Wilson says, meeting his grip.— Samuel G. Freedman
3 used to indicate that one is not bothered or troubled by something At his worst, he is corny and silly, but hey, the pleasure he gives is worth the price.— Gretchen GarnerMy way [of kneading] is to press the heel of my hand down into the dough, push it away and then bring it back down against the work surface. You can do it with one hand or two. (I've noticed that some like to follow this up by just throwing the dough, with force and from about chest or shoulder height, down onto the work surface. Hey, whatever works for you.)— Nigella Lawson

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Synonyms for hey


glory (or glory be), ha (or hah), hallelujah, hooray (also hurrah), hot dog, huzzah, wahoo [chiefly West], whee, whoopee, yahoo, yippee

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Examples of hey in a Sentence

hey, I won the lottery!

Recent Examples on the Web

This gorgeous brasserie in Brickell is as lovely for a power lunch as a lingering multi-course feast of oysters, pasta, and grilled seafood with a bottle or two of rosé (Hey, why not?) Something not accurate? Condé Nast Traveler, "Marion," 25 Aug. 2017 But hey, New Orleans is only a coastal city lying below sea level in a state that loses a football field of land to the encroaching Gulf of Mexico every 100 minutes, so no need for urgency. Michael Stein, New Republic, "Democrats Deserve Better Than Mitch Landrieu," 24 Aug. 2017 But hey, your colon's health is far too important to neglect. Jenn Morson, SELF, "7 Things You've Always Wondered About a Colonoscopy Procedure," 23 Aug. 2017 A man that looked to be at least 15 years older than myself who was walking near me in the same direction took an extra step to catch up to me and put his arm around my shoulder and grabbed my breast, and said 'Hey.' Sarah Klein, Health.com, "3 Women Who Stood Up to a Groper in a Powerful Way," 15 Aug. 2017 And hey, robots may be shopping for us online any day now, so might as well get ahead of the curve. Alyse Whitney, Bon Appetit, "All the Food at This Company Will Be $3 or Less," 11 July 2017

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'hey.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of hey

13th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for hey

Middle English

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Statistics for hey

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Time Traveler for hey

The first known use of hey was in the 13th century

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More Definitions for hey

English Language Learners Definition of hey

used to attract someone's attention or to express surprise, joy, or anger
used to indicate that something is not important, that you are not upset about something, etc.
\ ˈhā How to pronounce hey (audio) \

Kids Definition of hey

used to call attention or to express surprise or joy

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More from Merriam-Webster on hey

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with hey

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for hey

Spanish Central: Translation of hey

Nglish: Translation of hey for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of hey for Arabic Speakers

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about hey

Comments on hey

What made you want to look up hey? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


something desired as essential

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