It is only until extremely recent when I realised that the term ‘Goodbye’, which is used in parting or bidding farewell is actually derived from a statement, ‘God be with you’. Though some may argue that it has some links with the greeting, ‘Good Day’, continuing the greetings with the word, ‘Good’. Strictly speaking, the greeting, ‘Goodbye’, should have nothing to do with the other greetings such as ‘Good Morning’, ‘Good Afternoon’ or ‘Good Night’.

It is not known how the word, ‘God’, in the statement has transformed into the term, ‘Good’. But for the ‘Bye’, it is still rather sensible. ‘Be with you’ is orginally contracted into ‘B-we-yeu’ (Note, this is the sound, no such spelling in the course of history. This applies for the rest of the so-called contractions), and then to ‘B-weu’, combining the sounds of ‘with’ and ‘you’ because they are somewhat similar. Ultimately, it became spelled as ‘Bye’. Paradoxically, ‘Bye’ means ‘Be With You’. And hence, when you say ‘bye’ to a friend or whoever you are parting from, you are saying that you are with him. Therefore, the word, ‘Good’ is essential in making the greeting meaningful and sincere.

This is partly the reason why in Chinese Language, there is no such greeting as ‘Goodbye’, which is some form of temporary farewell. In Mandarin, ‘See you’ is used instead. But it doesn’t seem to make sense all the time, for example, when you are on the phone with someone overseas; it doesn’t sound sensible to say ‘See you’. Well, that’s my opinion, others may beg to differ.

And for those who have been somewhat vulgar, I am sure you have no idea what the term, ‘Damn’ means. In modern context, there is some idea of ‘condemn’ but its usage is not exactly so. When you say ‘Damn you’, you are telling the person (in Middle English), “Death to thy soul”, which somehow means ‘Go and die’, in the more formal sense.


6 responses to “Goodbye”

  1. Damn is actually from a latin word meaning to condemn.

  2. Oh, which means the current usage have some sort of clash between the origins of this term. Nevertheless, it is a bad word in any form of use.

  3. Hmm, such an informative post about the origins of some commonly used words. Impressive =)

  4. asdf

    fuck was actually Fornication Under Consent of the King untill people realize they have to swear 4 words everytime they read an amatuer blog and contracts it to fuck. thats my theory and its correct cos i’m always right. if you disagree your wrong.

  5. What if I agree?

  6. I have a filthy mouth n I (could) swear like nobody’s business.

    I m not really concern where those swear words origniated from, as it as they sound fithy enough at the required moment, their mission is accomplished.

    N I swear quite alot in my blog too.

    But it is still interesting to know though =P

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