This is more a historical question than one on the usages themselves. I'm interested in the history of the truncated forms of "Good morning" and "Good evening..." specifically, when people started greeting one other simply with 'morning', 'afternoon, and 'evening', why they did so, and even where they were first used. I would presume it was due to laziness, but details are always helpful... and, of course, I would appreciate some citation, as confirmation is never a bad thing.
closed as not constructive by FumbleFingers, tchrist, Kristina Lopez, MετάEd, cornbread ninja 麵包忍者 Mar 8 '13 at 15:45
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"Morning" appears in print as a salutation, in the shortened form you mention, at least as early as the 1800s. Here are three examples.
From "Educational Quacks; or The Puffing System in Education" in The Educational Magazine (1838):
From The Working Man's Friend, and Family Instructor (October 23, 1852):
From Charles Dickens, Our Mutual Friend (1867):
It's worth noting that "Good morning" is itself an abbreviated form of "I wish you a good morning," which conveys the meaning "I wish that you may have a good morning."
The earliest occurrence of "Evening, sir" (without the "Good") that I could find in a Google search is from a play by Henry Arthur Jones called The Chevaleer (1904):