hailfellow well met

Hail fellow well met

[n. heyl-fel-oh; adj. heyl-fel-oh]
"Hail fellow well met" is a somewhat archaic English idiom used either as an exagerrated greeting or referring to a person who is sociable and constantly making an effort at winning friends. The Oxford English Dictionary (OED) gives a 1589 quotation for this phrase as a friendly greeting. The OED also gives quotations for the related phrase "hail fellow", a greeting that apparently dates to medieval times. "Well met" appears to have been added to the phrase in the 1500s to intensify its friendliness. This additional term seems to derive from the concept of "good to meet you", and also from the meaning of "meet" as something literally the right size for a given situation.

In modern English, the idiom is used as an exaggerated greeting or as a description of a personality type. Modern use of the term tends to be deliberately archaic, with overtones of over-familiarity in the person (almost always male) so described, or as a deliberate, tongue in cheek term of endearment, heightening the effect of the greeting of an unexpected friend when as in "the only friendly person here" or to remark that there is a friend in an unfriendly atmosphere. It can also be used as a pejorative as a description of a person rather than a greeting . The OED gives an example from the 1600s of the use of "hail fellow" as a description in a similarly pejorative manner.

It is also cited as "heartily friendly and congenial, comradely, hail-fellow - characteristic of or befitting a friend; 'friendly advice'; 'a friendly neighborhood'; 'the only friendly person here'; 'a friendly host and hostess'." (See listing below.)

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