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 (Phoenix)
"Hey Rob," growls Russ [Winfield, designer], picking a potato off the back seat. "What are these doing back here?"Katherine Silberger
Glenn 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
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
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 Garner
My 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

Examples of hey in a Sentence

hey, I won the lottery!
Recent Examples on the Web One of the things that was being propagated there that were, very likely, from analysis, foreign malign influence was the narrative that, hey, here’s another thing that the U.S. government has been hiding from the public. Fortune Editors, Fortune, 14 Feb. 2024 The Job Accommodation Network has a whole list of potential options for anxiety disorders, including products like under-desk pedal exercisers (hey, restless energy!) and strategies for managing issues with focus, time management, and memory. Anna Borges, SELF, 13 Feb. 2024 But, hey, my mind is focused on software engineering and not on setting up a romantic atmosphere. Lance Eliot, Forbes, 11 Feb. 2024 But, hey, that family just added another Grammy to its vast collection (even though none of them are Album of the Year). Lester Fabian Brathwaite, EW.com, 5 Feb. 2024 In parts of western Kansas, the Denver Broncos may be geographically closer but, hey, the team went 8-9. Katie Bernard, Kansas City Star, 5 Feb. 2024 The resulting layered salad is the perfect make-ahead meal but, hey, no one wants a soggy salad. Charlotte Observer, 30 Jan. 2024 But hey, no one has ever accused this family of being shy about their relationships. Kathleen Walsh, Glamour, 16 Jan. 2024 But hey, Kristen Wiig and Will Ferrell got it, too. Vulture, 11 Jan. 2024 See More

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'hey.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History


Middle English

First Known Use

13th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

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

Dictionary Entries Near hey

Cite this Entry

“Hey.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/hey. Accessed 22 Feb. 2024.

Kids Definition


used especially to call attention or to express surprise or joy

More from Merriam-Webster on hey

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