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Howdy is an informal greeting, commonly thought to have originated as a shortened form of the greeting "How do you do?" It was first recorded as part of the Southern U.S. dialect in 1840. Literature from that period includes the use of "How-do, how-do" as a greeting used by Native Americans when addressing Anglo settlers in greeting. The double form of the idiom is still found in parts of Texas as "Howdy, howdy". Without regard to etymological beginnings, the word is used as a greeting such as "Hello" and not, normally, as an enquiry.
It is typically associated with Southern American English, especially from Arizona, New Mexico, Texas and the northern parts of Louisiana and Florida where the Southern dialect is predominant. It is the official greeting of Texas A&M University. It is also the name of the popular web portal at Texas A&M University.
Correct English spelling
A folk etymology asserts that term "Howdy" has been misspelt for over 170 years. A false assumption from a San Antonio ranch worker was made when conversing with a chap who had emigrated from Portsmouth, England. The Englishman tried to explain that the word was actually an acronym which stood for "Hop On Whilst Doing It". This was a reference to paying for travel on the public transport of the era. On public horse and carriage routes, there was often only two pickups per day. To avoid missing one whilst fumbling for change, the carriage conductor would simply yell "HOWDI" to inform the passenger they could board now and pay whilst in transit. This in turn became a term of greeting which is still used, but misspelt to this day.
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- McLemore, David. "SAVING AN ENDANGERED SPECIESS Native Texan Buddy Calk wants "Howdy"to come back, y'all." [sic] The Dallas Morning News. January 22, 1989.
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