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In one of the episodes of Rick and Morty, The Ricks Must Be Crazy, Rick says "Greetings" to a crowd. It's not the first time I hear this expression, which seems to be used as a greeting.

What's the exact definition of this expression in this context? When or in which context can we use this term/expression? Is there a reason behind the usage of the plural of "greeting" in this context?

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"Greetings", although it has a plural form, means "a single message that says you hope someone is well, happy, etc". It can be addressed to one or more people: I send you my greetings; my father sends his greetings to you/your family/everybody at your house; greetings to you, my friends and colleagues. Compare condolences, congratulations, commiserations, regards, best wishes etc.

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This answer is from an Australian perspective and applies to spoken use of the word. The other answers address the written form so I won't touch on that.

"Greetings" as a salutation might be used when addressing an individual or individuals in a formal settings, such as addressing a crowd, or a dignitary greeting people of another culture. Because most of us wouldn't find ourselves in situations where such a word is appropriate, it tends to be used ironically instead.

For example, when meeting friends out for dinner, you might say "Greetings" as a light-hearted way of introducing yourself. It's not uncommon to hear this, but I also wouldn't suggest adding this word to your daily vocabulary as it would probably come across as pretentious if you made a habit of greeting people this way.

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Greetings is used when speaking to many people rather than one person - for example, when addressing a crowd. It is like saying "hello". Rick is offering his "greetings" to those in the crowd, collectively.

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  • This is incorrect -- it's not unusual to say "greetings" as a salutation to one person, although it is slightly formal.
    – Andrew
    Nov 25, 2018 at 18:39

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