Hi vs high

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Hi and high are two words that are pronounced in the same manner but are spelled differently and have different meanings, which makes them homophones. We will examine the differing definitions of hi and high, where these words came from and some examples of their use in sentences.

Hi is an exclamation of greeting, an abbreviated way to say hello. The word hi was first used as a Middle English word, probably as a variant of the word hey and used to attract someone’s attention. The use of the word hi as a salutation seems to have come about during the twentieth century.

High is an adjective that is used to describe something tall, something lengthy in a vertical measurement, something towering  far above other things in a literal or a figurative sense. High may describe something of greater status or importance, or something morally superior. High is sometimes used as a noun. Other meanings of the word high include the euphoric feeling one gets by ingesting alcohol or drugs, a successful situation, the fastest or top setting on an appliance or piece of machinery, or an area of barometric pressure. The word high is used as an adverb to mean an expensive price, at a specific height, a high pitch. The word high is derived from the Old English heh meaning elevated or tall.


According to Teigen, when she and John went to say hi to Jay Z and Beyoncé during the ceremony, she proved that she was a very loyal member of the Bey Hive, the star’s avid fan base. (Time Magazine)

Kenya’s high court ordered the government to allow three major television stations to continue broadcasting Thursday, after they were shut down earlier in the week for showing scenes from an opposition rally. (The Washington Post)

Two Toronto police officers have been suspended with pay after allegedly getting high while on duty. (The Huffington Post)

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