A Look at the History of Good Afternoon Etiquette in the 1800s

good afternoon

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Amid the tumult of the 19th century, with its sweeping social changes and development, a certain decorum was demanded of those who wished to remain in good standing. To gain an understanding of what was deemed appropriate at this time, we must turn to the history books.

In 1848, Emily Post published her seminal work Etiquette: In Society, in Business, in Politics and at Home. This book provided a wealth of knowledge on how to conduct oneself in a variety of settings. One such suggestion was the use of ‘Good afternoon’ when first encountering someone.

It was also customary to use this phrase as a polite way of saying goodbye after a brief conversation or visit, demonstrating one’s respect and courtesy before taking their leave.

The rules of etiquette evolved over the course of the 19th century, but it seems that bidding someone ‘Good afternoon’ remained a popular tradition throughout this era.



It’s a tricky query, with no straightforward response. Depending on the context and time period, “good afternoon” may not have been a common expression in the 1800s. Instead, it was more customary to greet people with phrases such as “good day” or “good morrow,” depending on the hour. While this could differ depending on who you were conversing with and in what setting, saying “good afternoon” could have been considered somewhat off-putting or even impolite.

– Historical Etiquette: Was it Rude to Say Good Afternoon in the s?

As the day progresses, a pleasant phrase often uttered is “good afternoon.” But have you ever wondered where this expression originated? In this article, we’ll unearth the historical etiquette of saying good afternoon and how it has shifted over time.

In the 1500s, “good afternoon” was initially introduced in English language. During that era, it was deemed as proper manners to greet someone with a courteous salutation upon first meeting them or when leaving their company – particularly if they were of higher social standing or held a position of authority. Uttering “good afternoon” was viewed as an indication of politeness and respect.

The 1600s saw “good afternoon” become increasingly popular in everyday conversations. By then, it had become a formal greeting used to demonstrate politeness and good behavior.

By the 1700s, “good afternoon” had become so commonplace that people expected it when encountering someone new or bidding farewell. It was considered a sign of courtesy and respect regardless of one’s social status or power.

Today, “good afternoon” is still recognized as being polite and respectful. It is frequently utilized as an expression of appreciation for another person’s presence or gratitude for something they have done. Though its usage has altered slightly over time – instead of being used as an official greeting when meeting someone new or leaving their company, it is now more commonly employed as an informal way to say hello or goodbye in passing or on social media platforms such as Twitter and Instagram – the importance remains unchanged: a simple yet meaningful gesture that can make someone’s day just a bit brighter!

– Exploring Social Norms of the s: The Unspoken Rules of Saying Good Afternoon

A custom of politeness and respect has been in place for centuries, and the ‘s were no exception. An unspoken rule of greeting someone in the afternoon was to say “Good Afternoon.” This phrase was more than just a way to be courteous; it was an expression of appreciation and acknowledgement for one another’s presence.

The meaning behind this simple phrase can be quite intricate. It conveys a feeling of warmth, as well as formality, indicating that you have taken the time to consider them. In the ‘s, saying “Good Afternoon” was seen as a sign of courtesy and civility. Not only did it serve as a recognition of someone else’s presence, but it also showed that you had taken the time to think about them. This short phrase could communicate far more than just words; it could reveal emotions which may otherwise stay hidden or unspoken.

Though times have changed since then, saying “Good Afternoon” is still viewed as an essential gesture of politeness and respect. Whether speaking face-to-face or over the phone, taking the time to say this simple phrase can make all the difference in how you are perceived by others. By understanding its past significance and importance in society, we can better understand its worth today.

– Investigating Changes in Greeting Customs Throughout History

Throughout the ages, customs of greeting have shifted and changed. From a mere handshake to more extravagant bows and curtsies, people have found unique ways to demonstrate their admiration for one another. Exploring ancient records can give us an understanding of how various cultures have greeted each other through time.

In old Egypt, salutations were often done in a very ceremonious way; bowing or kneeling before the person being greeted was a sign of respect. This practice was also seen in Greece and Rome; the level of bow or kneel depended on the rank of the person being addressed.

By the Middle Ages, kissing had become a common form of greeting among European royalty and nobility, which likely originated from kissing hands as an act of reverence to those higher in status. This custom spread all over Europe and became widespread amongst all classes.

The modern handshake is believed to have come out of medieval England as proof that two people weren’t carrying any weapons when they met up. Now it is used worldwide as an informal gesture of kindness. In certain countries such as Japan and Thailand, bowing is still preferred over shaking hands as a gesture of politeness and deference.

It’s clear that customs for greeting have altered drastically through history and vary greatly from culture to culture. By examining these practices from the past, we can gain insight into how different societies interact with each other today.

– Examining How Language and Manners Evolved During the s

The roaring twenties were a time of tremendous flux, with rapid social transformation impacting how people interacted. Unprecedented levels of language and etiquette alteration occurred, with new words entering the English lexicon and more formal customs emerging. Jazz music and its slang popularized fresh terms like “cool” and “hip,” replacing older ones like “swell” or “dandy.” Technology such as radio and television also played a role in this shift. Additionally, as society became increasingly affluent and sophisticated, so did their expectations for proper conduct. Etiquette books provided guidance on dressing for specific occasions, conversation topics to avoid, and addressing people according to their social standing. Dinner parties were especially indicative of this change, where guests had to adhere to strict rules regarding table manners and conversation. These alterations in language use and etiquette are still evident today, influencing our speech patterns and understanding of socially acceptable behavior.

– Analyzing the Historical Significance of Saying Good Afternoon in the s

A timeless phrase, one that has been around for centuries and has had a long history of use in many cultures, is “good afternoon”. A sign of politeness and respect, it is often used in everyday conversations in the United States. Its origins, however, date back much further.

It was first seen in the 17th century among British upper-class society as an appropriate greeting between those of equal standing. In France at this time period it was also used, but didn’t become widespread until the 19th century.

The Civil War era saw its introduction into popular use in the U.S., where soldiers would greet each other with “good morning” or “good evening” depending on when they met; after the war it became commonplace as a sign of respect between soldiers and civilians alike. It quickly spread throughout society as a polite way to greet someone at any time of day.

Nowadays it remains an important part of American culture and etiquette, conveying politeness when meeting new people or entering conversations without resorting to overly formal language. Understanding its historical significance helps us better appreciate its importance today.


Answering this question may be a challenge, yet the existing historical records seem to suggest that during the 1800s, uttering “good afternoon” was deemed as an act of politeness and respect. It was a popular way of greeting people regardless of their societal standing.


Some questions with answers

Q1. Was it rude to say good afternoon in the 1800s?
A1. It was not considered rude to say good afternoon in the 1800s, as it was a polite way to greet someone.

Q2. What were other common greetings during this time period?
A2. Common greetings during the 1800s included “Good day” and “How do you do?”.

Q3. How did people typically respond when greeted with “Good afternoon”?

A3. People typically responded with either “Good afternoon” or “And a good afternoon to you”.

Q4. What other customs were observed during this time period?

A4. Other customs observed during the 1800s included bowing and tipping one’s hat when greeting someone.

Q5. Where can I find more information about this topic?

A5. More information about social etiquette in the 1800s can be found in books and articles on history and culture from this time period.

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