Is it true that “goodbye” is actually short for a religious phrase?

Of the many ways to say farewell — peace, so long, later skater, ciaogoodbye is the most common.

A form of good-bye has been spoken since the sixteenth century. It comes from godbwye, which is a contraction of “God be with ye.” The phrase was influenced by good day and good evening.

The abbreviated forms of good-bye are bye and bye-bye.

Bye-bye was originally a nursery phrase first used in the early 1700s to lull a child to sleep. One of its definitions is “baby talk.”

Bye has multiple meanings, some related to sports. In golf, the holes of a stipulated course that are still unplayed after a match is finished are a bye. In cricket, a bye is a run made on a ball not struck by the batsman.

Bye is also used in the idiom “by the bye,” which means “incidentally” or “by the way.”

Several Spanish terms of farewell are now commonly used in English. Adiós means “good-bye.” The word is a contraction of a, which means “to,” and Dios, which means “God.” Hasta luego means “see you later.” In the role of the Terminator, Arnold Schwarzenegger, the current governor of California, popularized the expression hasta la vista, which means “so long” or “until we meet again.”

Unlike good-bye, the history of hello involves hunting dogs and a touch of danger. Learn the whole story, here.

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  1. hassan -  January 13, 2015 - 2:10 am

    is it also has a relation with the POP?

    • aya -  February 28, 2015 - 10:01 pm

      you mean the pope (baba)
      no it doesnt have anything to do with him.. so you can use it as much as you want without worring. but maelsalami is better between muslims.. good bye litrally translates to “allah ma’ak” god be with you

      • Moataz -  October 28, 2015 - 7:07 am

        Ma3a Alsamala literally means = with safery

  2. 87958w3ym ru stryuzstryu zsryu -  February 2, 2014 - 8:28 pm

    no sense to me yeah i dont need no propa enlish

  3. e567iiiiiei -  February 2, 2014 - 8:26 pm


  4. Nick Furey -  December 28, 2013 - 9:10 am

    The word goodbye as a direct derivative from early English when Christian would bid farewell by saying “God bless ye”, however due to great persecution for using “God” they shifted it to “Good” and “bless ye” was condensed to “bye”. Like it was the first text message short form. Ever heard of a “God’s eye”? It is a cross woven with yarn to appear as a beautiful piece of wall art. If we only knew the persecution faced by early Christians, we would honor them by standing firm in our own faith and use this word Good bye with its true meaning. STAND – Strength To Achieve New Direction

    And thus my friends, God bless ye

  5. Maya -  May 23, 2013 - 3:52 pm

    I was googling to find out very rude saying ‘good bye’ or ‘bye’, but couldn’t find it. Most of the sites were about how not to end conversation rudely. But, here, I found one comment:

    itstherecit on November 3, 2011 at 1:54 pm

    I don’t know if any other people here said this (I only read about half of these comments) but the last times I have said “goodbye” to a person was when I was angry with them and wanted to terminate a conversation and contact. As said before in these comments “goodbye” is rarely used these days. Sad to say but I think the word “goodbye” has taken on some negative implications.

    My son told me ‘bye’ abruptly (short, brief) while were were talking about his study – I was not happy that he was playing game in the morning and knew that he has been missing classes at uni, but defended himself and was not happy about my confrontation. After I heard him saying ‘bye’ that rude way, I didn’t want to talk anymore.

    This is second time that I heard good bye or bye being used in this rude way.

    First one was in a nice department store. It happened to an old Japanese lady. I know it from her accent because I talked with her briefly. (her accent) She came up to the counter and asked whether that was on sale. That was not an sale item. Then, the woman at the counter said to her in a rather high tone and loud voice ‘ Godd Bye!’. And I saw her facial expression with a slight smile looking down on her nose.

    AT that time, my issue about this was more about racist attitude of the woman at the counter. But today, it is more about the language usage.

    I asked my son who just left for uni how often they use ‘bye’ this way. He answer was surprisingly ‘often’. It seems among the young people, this is how they express their frustration and finish off the conversation.

    But, the woman at the counter was at least in her middle 30′s.

    Is this New Zealand thing or not? I live in New Zealand.

    I wonder what country this person lives:
    itstherecit on November 3, 2011 at 1:54 pm

    Is this common way of finishing off the conversation that you don’t like in a rude way? Or they don’t think it is not rude anymore?

  6. Sheldon -  April 21, 2013 - 3:33 am

    Goodbye means “good passage” or “good way”

    “By the bye” means “by the way”

    Look at the other meanings. The ball went “by” or “past” the batsman in cricket. The golfer went “by” or “past” the holes he did not play.

    Bye has multiple meanings, some related to sports. In golf, the holes of a stipulated course that are still unplayed after a match is finished are a bye. In cricket, a bye is a run made on a ball not struck by the batsman.

    A “bye” in sports means to “advance” or “pass” a level when there is no opponent.

    So “goodbye” could mean “good passage without an opponent”

    It makes more sense than “God be with ye”, which it what everyone says it means.

    The simple interpretation of the word makes more sense than all of the dictionaries I have read.

    Sometimes everyone is wrong.

    • Ewww -  February 29, 2016 - 4:31 pm

      You are right sir. It’s so convenient and sounds so much like it should be right. But they’re different.

  7. pooo -  August 29, 2012 - 1:13 am

    btw hasta la vista literally translates to “until the sight” but the meaning is a little closer when translated by words to until the horizon. Coincidentally I being a native born mexican have never heard it used by actual people from mexico who have never been to the us. Same with the word “cajones” which actually means drawers, like the ones you keep things in.

  8. itstherecit -  November 3, 2011 - 1:54 pm

    I don’t know if any other people here said this (I only read about half of these comments) but the last times I have said “goodbye” to a person was when I was angry with them and wanted to terminate a conversation and contact. As said before in these comments “goodbye” is rarely used these days. Sad to say but I think the word “goodbye” has taken on some negative implications.

    • ALISHBA -  May 8, 2015 - 11:19 am


  9. Joyce -  September 8, 2011 - 1:21 am

    My friends and I used to say Hasta la By-By…what do u make of that?

  10. Ann -  August 23, 2011 - 10:23 am

    This is interesting because in parts of rural Ireland, people greet each other by saying “God be with ye” when entering a house, etc. This is a translation from the Gaelic “Dia dhiabh”, and so the complete opposite of the convention in the country’s second official language.This has persisted despite the spread of English into native Irish-speaking regions in the mid-19th century and shows how languages develop and mutate.

  11. Grapefruit -  August 23, 2011 - 8:45 am


  12. Grapefruit -  August 23, 2011 - 8:44 am

    Very interesting! Thank you for sharing!

    But I tried to click on the link to the the story of “hello” and it brought me here: http://hotword.dictionary.com/?p=1255 which does not explain it. Help?

  13. Liviu -  August 23, 2011 - 5:43 am

    A very interesting article! It is fascinating to see the etymology of some words…:)

  14. zeus -  August 22, 2011 - 4:27 am

    On the origin of words for god:

    Looking at greek mythology, we find Dione who is said to be equivalent of Gaia (Earth Mother). The roman Diana might have its roots there.
    Also, the modern greek name of Zeus is Dias. And the modern greek “theos” (theo-logy) sounds too much like it, too. Additionally (but not sure if related) “deos” also in greek meens “awe” (in particular the awe one has for the (powers of) gods).

  15. Beth -  August 20, 2011 - 7:07 pm

    I don’t know why there’s so much hullabaloo over this. For those claiming the “good journey” phrase sounds more plausible, well perhaps, truth is stranger than fiction. Plausible, perhaps, but the experts have this one. Whether you like it or agree with it, you can’t change it.

    I study Old and Middle English, and the evolution of the English language is a hobby of mine. Many words came to be from abbreviations like this one–”howdy” comes from the archaic greeting “how do you do?”

    Our culture used to be far more religious, so many of our sayings and superstitions stem from that culture. And despite recent efforts to erase all traces of our heritage, it is what it is. You can’t change history just because you don’t agree with it.

  16. daryl king -  August 19, 2011 - 1:26 pm

    a more interesting, and accurate point regarding the similarities for referring to God, is actually the polytheistic god(s)((lower case)):

  17. saziba -  August 19, 2011 - 5:09 am

    Interesting that God in Portuguese is “Deus”, in Spanish is “Dios”, “Dio” in italian, “Deum” in latin, “Dieu” in french. That’s why “Dio”, in Italian for instance, actually means “Two O’s” or “Double O” or “OO” wich resembles the simbol of infinite.

  18. Kelsey -  August 18, 2011 - 6:52 pm

    Crystal Clear, I don’t understand what you’re saying, but please don’t use the word retard in that way. It’s disrespectful towards those born with mental handicaps and frankly it’s flat-out mean. I don’t blame you if you didn’t realize that, many people don’t, but now you know.

  19. Wiser for the wear -  November 7, 2010 - 8:10 pm

    There are questions for which I will never have the answers, and I think I might be getting to the place where I’m okay with that. The pain has been, at times, unreal. Or rather, a bit too real. Where to stuff the hurt that comes from goodbyes we once imagined were best left unuttered? Perhaps, over time, we learn the art of dispersal- a little hurt here, a little hurt there, a little transformation. The important thing, I presume, is to never surrender to bitterness. Let the memories fade with time, both the good and the bad, and may all who have despaired be at peace, finally, despite loss. Or maybe even because of it.

    To the texture brought out by grief and relinquishment.

    To goodbye.

  20. Viviane Brazil -  August 13, 2010 - 11:47 am

    Good to know, really interesting information, “the words behind the words “.

    Até logo!!

  21. Dennis -  August 12, 2010 - 5:39 am

    oops ! I mean good evening = god evening?

  22. Dennis -  August 12, 2010 - 5:38 am

    So, does good morning = god morning, god evening = god evening?

  23. Dimwick -  August 12, 2010 - 5:17 am

    Cras vos videbo Deo volente. Latin for goodbye. Literally it says: “I will see you [pl.] tomorrow if God wills it].

  24. thirsty for vacation by sea -  August 12, 2010 - 3:43 am

    If I can see you again, if goodbye means ‘see you again’ then that would be fine with me. Without journey, then no life. Bowwow I see you in my dream tonight?

  25. WALNUT -  August 11, 2010 - 10:25 pm

    What is all this hubub Bub? Taking “Under God” out of the pledge of allegiance is returning it to it’s original form as well as separating church and state.
    The pledge was written by Frances Bellamy before the 20th century for all nations not just ours. “Under God” was added in 1957 and when my kids came home saying that I couldn’t believe the churchies would mess with that TOO. The meter was all twisted and it took me a long time to say it gracefully.
    I’m old enough to be cramming for finals but I’m not!

  26. Valeria -  August 11, 2010 - 7:51 pm

    very interesting!! thanks!

  27. crystal clear -  August 11, 2010 - 7:09 pm

    Saying Sanskrit is the mother of all languages is like saying Adam was the first man.. but maybe that’s why the human race is so retarded.

  28. maria -  August 11, 2010 - 6:01 pm

    Lee, as a spanish speaker I think that “Hasta la vista ” really means “Untill we meet again”, and “Hasta luego” means “see you later.”
    Sorry,I really think you are wrong!

  29. Waldo Pepper -  August 11, 2010 - 4:39 pm

    Hmm…I was under the impression that the word “goodbye” was first popularized in the song “Hello Goodbye” by The Beatles.

  30. D-Rev -  August 11, 2010 - 4:15 pm

    I commend you, Roger! And come now, Magnus, get with the program. Don’t you know that only atheists will try to eradicate the phrase “..under God” in the Pledge of Allegience?

  31. some kid -  August 11, 2010 - 3:24 pm

    Sanskrit isn’t the mother of all languages. Sanskrit (Indo-Aryan), along with Spanish and French (Italic), is part of the larger Indo-European language family. English is part of the Germanic branch of IE. To say that Sanskrit is the mother of all languages is like saying a child’s step-aunt is its mother of its great-great-great-great-great-grandmother, and of the kid’s friends. Sanskrit came from Proto-IndoEuropean, just like Latin and Greek did. And there are many language families outside of Indo-European, like the Finno-Ugric group (some languages of which are Finnish and Hungarian). There are many, many more, like the Altaic group (Turkish and maybe Japanese and Korean), Sino-Tibetan (the Chinese languages), Afro-Asiatic (Hebrew and the Arabic languages), Niger-Congo (Swahili, Zulu, Yoruba), etc.

  32. ryan -  August 11, 2010 - 2:48 pm

    hasnt anyone noticed that alot of phases are old christain sayings. yet our nation doesnt want to be one nation under god anymore

  33. Bryan -  August 11, 2010 - 2:17 pm

    Funny. Yes the ‘good road’ explanation may sound nicer or simpler but sadly Lynn that has no bearing at all on how correct it is. The English language is very well documented going back several centuries. The experts dont make this stuff up, they research and corroborate other people’s research in order to get to the truth.
    There was a comment mocking how atheists use words of religious origin. Well it would not work very well if they were to make their own language would it? Scientists also find our evolved language inappropriate for certain things but the great thing about language is it continues to evolve all the time.

  34. JoyCorcoran -  August 11, 2010 - 2:07 pm

    Thanks for illuminating another common phrase. “Hello, hello, I don’t know why you say good-bye I say hello…”

  35. AIN’T | BLOGCHI@mayopia.com -  August 11, 2010 - 1:11 pm

    [...] AIN’T THERE NO MORE AIN’T” Or does GOOD BYE mean good buy? — and “It ain’t necessarily so.”–>>Rupert [...]

  36. Pink-e -  August 11, 2010 - 1:03 pm

    Magus……Many Americans have spent a whole lot of time and wasted a whole lot of money trying to delete “God” from every public building and anything remotely to do with the government. Many of these references have been in place for 100′s of years. Yet, what Roger said is the dumbest thing you’ve ever heard?

    Good Bye and May God be With you All

  37. Lingo -  August 11, 2010 - 12:50 pm

    Sanskrit is not the mother of all languages, though it is very old. However, about 50% of the world today speaks indo-european languages, Sanskrit is a member of this family and that may account for the similarity in “god”. The similarities of across languages can also easily be attributed to “loan words”, words native to one language that are so common in another they are actually lexicalized by a majority of its speakers. And to confirm, there is written documentation from the 16th century that “godbwye” is a contraction of “god be with ye”, just because the contracted form lives on does not mean the original must die. We use contractions and full forms all the time ie; “can not, can’t; do not, don’t; even- “Ima be” can be understood as “I am going to be”. Languages tend to favor efficiency.

  38. superambrosio -  August 11, 2010 - 12:13 pm

    In portuguese is quite the same… we say “ADEUS” and “DEUS” in english is “GOD”…
    The word in portuguese and the explanation “God be with you” makes more sense now.

  39. aNonnyMoose -  August 11, 2010 - 12:01 pm

    Roger, we Pagans don’t use it. This is why we say “Blessed Be” when parting. We are bidding blessings of the Goddess(es) and God(s).

    Blessed Be!

  40. P -  August 11, 2010 - 10:25 am

    Well is magically comes and goes…I will blame the server and not the site…so many words…so little server space lol

  41. P -  August 11, 2010 - 10:24 am

    Didn’t see what was wrong with my comment or why it got deleted?? I guess good-bye to you dictionary.com that was very rude!

  42. Lynn -  August 11, 2010 - 10:01 am

    Annelies, thank you for the insight. I think your explanation of “good bye” meaning “good road” sounds much more plausible. “Experts”, please take note!

  43. Revs -  August 11, 2010 - 9:17 am

    Thats amazing….Sanskrit is d mother of all languages.

  44. P -  August 11, 2010 - 9:14 am

    haha my bad, “hasta la vista” most commonly interpreted also as until we meet again like the article said

  45. P -  August 11, 2010 - 9:10 am

    Double-dind I enjoyed your paragraph, well-said and that was primarily what I thought about since I read the hello article just yesterday. Godbwye is an actual word from middle English not sure why people would doubt something for which there is wide spread proof of. Just look up text from the sixteenth or seventeenth century. “Hasta luego” actually means “until then” interpreted as see you later, and “hasta la vista” literally means “until the sight” but to be interpreted as see you later. More interestingly I don’t actually remember using goodbye. I often you a long byyyyyeeee, or bye bye, see you later, see ya, but an actual full good-bye is becoming less popular.

  46. JP -  August 11, 2010 - 7:02 am

    For the sake of knowledge and discussion, I want also to add: Dios in Spanish means God; Deo or Dio in Hindi means God as well!
    It tells you that the mother of most of the languages has to be something else (probably Sanskrit, most agree).

  47. Cecilia -  August 11, 2010 - 6:49 am

    Roger has a hammer. All of society’s ills are so many nails to him.

  48. Dens -  August 11, 2010 - 5:59 am

    Goodbye = God be with you. I agree! :)

  49. ting -  August 11, 2010 - 3:22 am

    this article aint one of those usual craps weve heard or read…thanks!

  50. Annelies -  August 11, 2010 - 1:29 am

    This mix of historical/literal explanation, and translation based on corresponding usage in different languages, does not really work for me. I doubt several thing stated.

    “God be with you” sounds way too long and complicated to be jumbled up into “goodbye”, when there’s this other perfectly good explanation lying around. Bye is an old word for way/road, hence “by the bye” is “by the way”, as stated. Couldn’t it be that we wish someone we take our leave from, a good journey/road when saying goodbye?
    Also, “God be with you” survived the ages unjumbled and well, which leaves little need for a Doppelganger.

    “Adieu” is not an equivalent of goodbye, it is a farewell forever. It means “to/at/until god” and is only used when you expect to never see the person again, until nearer god, after death. This usage may have changed into a more pessimistic everyday use for the spanish “adios”, I don’t know too much about spanish. But I do think “hasta la vista” means “until the sight”, and not really “see you (’round)”.

    Then again, my mother tongue is duth, so never mind me!

  51. rose -  August 10, 2010 - 11:27 pm

    good artical .. good bye

  52. Magnus -  August 10, 2010 - 9:13 pm

    Roger, speaking as an atheist, that has to be the dumbest thing I’ve ever heard.

  53. Siddeshwar -  August 10, 2010 - 8:59 pm

    Interesting read. Thank you.

  54. Brian -  August 10, 2010 - 8:37 pm

    enjoyed it, thank you

  55. Roger -  August 10, 2010 - 8:01 pm

    Isn’t it great that this is a term even atheists and agnostics use? Better watch out or they’ll try to make it illegal to use it, at least for those in the government. LOL.

  56. double bind -  August 10, 2010 - 5:46 pm

    Here are words that connect the articles-’hello’, ‘goodbye’ and ‘cursing and sweraring’posted: a distress sign, up in the sky-cursing, greeting,
    a hunting dog, swearing, cursing, by the bye. The interaction of swearing, signs thrown into the air- somehow turns into cursing, that is bringing wishes down or the earthy emotion gets in its way. Ahoy-bowwow is a game I have never played and has consumed a great deal of my time.
    I hate riddles but I like the feeling of my brain that kind of got sucked into an air pocket. Like a computer,my brain got freezed for a while.

  57. Ernesto Sante -  August 10, 2010 - 3:49 pm

    Goodbye could also mean “Obey God”. For how else could anyone wish well to whom he is sending off or to whom he is leaving.

  58. Brandon -  August 10, 2010 - 2:40 pm

    Roy Smith, the same goes for the French adieu

  59. Roy Stewart -  August 10, 2010 - 1:43 pm

    Goodbye ie. ‘God be With You’.
    I have considered ‘Adios’ in Spanish to have derived from:
    “Vaya con Dios” ie. Go With God or ‘a’ = (go) to Dios lit. To God!

    Roy Stewart,
    Phoenix AZ

  60. Timothy -  August 10, 2010 - 11:57 am


  61. lee -  August 10, 2010 - 11:16 am

    You mixed up the Spanish to English translations in the last paragraph. “Hasta la vista” means “See you later,” and “hasta la luego” means “Until we meet again.”

  62. Tactless -  August 10, 2010 - 10:36 am

    Yes, well after reading that article, I must bid you all adieu. Ciao. Bye. Bye-Bye, Good Day, peace out,
    and of course,

    Good Bye.

    God be with ye.

  63. GOODBYE | BLOGCHI@mayopia.com -  August 10, 2010 - 9:17 am

    [...] “GOODBYE”, ROUSSEAU never really says. — He’s a dog. — But he’s always happy to see us. — “Have a Nice Day.” is another big lie — though a WISH is better than robotic inquisition such as “How are you?” — That still don’t fly. — Some interactive “Tradition” — if positive like the butterfly’s wings flapping — can trigger some emotion — like the bird in the morning that sings not rapping. — “HASTA LA VISTA, BABY!” in the context of TERMINATOR — is a questionable existence. — The Mythology of always crushing the other — we believe with some persistence — can be changed to co-consistence — in the Universe with Earth Mother. — There’s not much else to go on — but to learn to do our time — forget about the hereafter — and make it better while we’re in our prime. — How to end a passage when it begins with a “GOODBYE” — We’re feeling kinda “DUMBO” — Have you seen an Elephant fly?–>>Rupert L.T.Rhyme [...]

  64. FulguraterX -  August 10, 2010 - 8:25 am

    Yeah, Godspeed you read the whole article instead of skipping the less important parts.

  65. ern malcolm -  August 10, 2010 - 8:25 am

    I had always heard that ‘goodbye’ came from “God be with you’ as a departing commment used long ago.

  66. Bram -  August 10, 2010 - 7:18 am

    Nice read. now i know the story of “goodbye”. By the bye ciao hasta la vista. XD


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