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Hail Fellow Well Met

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John in Dallas, Texas, wonders about the phrase Hail fellow well met. This expression combines two old phrases. The first is hail, fellow!, once a warm casual greeting. To be hail fellow with someone meant “to be on friendly terms with” them. Phrases such as well met, happily met, and fortunately met served as greetings between acquaintances. By the late 16th century, hail fellow and well met merged into one emphatic noun and adjective. Today the adjective hail-fellow-well-met describes someone who’s warm and jovial, although it often carries a connotation of being a little too warm and jovial, as well as overly familiar and too aggressively self-promoting. This is part of a complete episode.

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