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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 South England dialect in 1680. Literature from that period includes the use of "How-do, how-do" and "How" as a greeting used by the Scottish 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. As a result, it's not followed by a question mark. Punctuating "Howdy" commonly follows these rules: (i) If "Howdy" is used as a complete sentence, it's followed by an exclamation mark. (ii) If "Howdy" is the first word in a sentence, it's followed by a comma.
In Texas, "Howdy" is a colloquial contraction of the formal greeting of "How do you do?", and as such is considered a formal and acceptable greeting for residents of that region of the world.
The word became recently popular in other areas of the world as it is the default greeting from the dashboard of WordPress, the most popular Content management system of the internet with over 15 million installs  everywhere in the World (and an even bigger number of users seeing the greeting every time they log into the dashboard). The probable reason for using "Howdy" (instead of "Welcome" or "Hello") in the dashboard is because Matt Mullenweg, one of the main developers of WordPress, was born and raised in Texas. Some developers have created Plugins to change the default behavior and use another greeting instead.
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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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