A friend recently suggested that I channel my nit-picky love of grammar into a blog. My first thought was a reflection on my blog graveyard. I have tried writing blogs before and eventually life’s distractions overtake me and the blog is left to die a slow and lonely death. However, my enthusiasm for the topic, coupled with its episodic nature, makes me think that maybe this blog stands a chance at survival. I guess, ultimately, that time will tell.
So to kick things off, let’s talk about the title of this post. What is the difference between greeting and salutation? Is there really a difference? Well, the truth is they are more or less interchangeable. In dictionaries one is often used to describe the other. For example, my Webster’s New World dictionary defines salutation as “the act of greeting” and The Free Dictionary defines greeting as “an expression of friendly salutation.” When deciding which of these words to use, either one will work. The main difference between the two words is origin. Salutation comes from the Latin term salutationem and was first recorded in the English language sometime in the 1530s, whereas the word greeting comes from the Old English word gretan, meaning “to come in contact with” or the Western Germanic word grotja, meaning “to salute.”
As an interesting side note, the term “greeting card” first appeared in 1898. Why am I not surprised that was a Victorian invention?