The Meaning of Farewell: What It Is and How To Use It

Do you know the definition of farewell? This article will provide you with all of the information you need on the word farewell, including its definition, usage, example sentences, and more!

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What does the word farewell mean?

According to the Merriam-Webster Unabridged Dictionary of the English Language, The word farewell can be used as an interjection to or by one who is departing as a wish that they will fare well in their travels or endeavors. This word can also be used as a noun as a wish of well-being at parting, an act of departure, or some formal occasion that honors a person who is about to leave or retire. There are many different types of farewells, from sad farewells, to long farewells, but bidding farewell is always an expression of goodwill towards whoever is leaving. There are multiple definitions of farewell; the word Farewell can also refer to a cape in the most southerly point of Greenland. 

Many different languages also contain words that mean farewell. You might notice that some of these words look and sound similar to one another. These are called cognates, which are words and phrases that look and sound the same between languages and also have a similar meaning. Cognates are often formed when two words share the same language of origin or root word. This list of translations for the word farewell is provided by Word Sense

  • Gujarati: આવજો‎ (āvjo)
  •  Romanian: la revedere‎, pa‎
  •  Azeri: xudafiz‎, güle güle‎
  •  Ojibwe: giga-waabamin‎
  •  Inari Sami: moonâ tiervân‎ (said to those leaving), pääsi tiervân‎ (said to those remaining)
  •  Georgian: ნახვამდის‎, კარგად‎
  •  Tamil: சென்று வருகிறேன்‎
  •  Luganda: weeraba‎
  •  Lao: ລາກ່ອນເດ‎, ສະບາຍດີ‎
  •  Greenlandic: baj‎
  •  Khmer: លាហើយ‎ (lea hey)
  •  Greek: αντίο‎, γεια‎
  •  Ewe: hede nyuie‎
  •  Mongolian: баяртай‎
  •  Korean: 안녕히 계세요‎ (formal, person leaving), 안녕히 가세요‎ (formal, person remaining), 잘 있어‎ (informal, person leaving), 잘 가‎ (informal, person remaining), 안녕‎ (informal, generic), 빠이빠이‎
  •  Latin: ave‎, vale‎, salve‎
  •     Logudorese: adiòsu‎
  •  Icelandic: bless‎, bæ‎bæ‎ (colloquial), vertu sæll‎ (to a man), vertu sæl‎ (to a woman)
  •  Skolt Sami: mõõn tiõrvân‎ (said to those leaving), pää´ʒʒ tiõrvân‎ (said to those remaining)
  •  Burmese: ဒါပါပဲ‎ (on the telephone)
  •  German: auf Wiedersehen‎, auf Wiederschauen‎ (Austria), auf Wiederhören‎ (telephone), tschüss‎, tschau‎ (ciao), bis später‎, bis bald‎
  •  Chamicuro: alyos‎
  •  Slovene: adíjo‎, čáo‎ (informal), nasvídenje‎, lép pozdràv‎, sréčno‎ (formal), zbógom‎ (archaic)
  •  Garifuna: ayó‎
  •     Campidanese: adiòsu‎
  •  Inuktitut: ᓴᐃᒧ‎
  •  Fijian: moce‎
  •  Urdu: خدا حافظ‎ (xudā hāfiz), نمستے‎ (namaste)
  •  French: au revoir‎, adieu‎, salut‎ (informal)
  •  Hebrew: לְהִתְרָאוֹת‎ (l’hitra’ót), שָׁלוֹם‎
  •  Udmurt: ӟеч лу‎
  •  Macedonian: ча́о‎ (informal), пријатно‎, со здра́вје‎(regular), довидување‎ (formal)
  •  Bulgarian: дови́ждане‎
  •  Italian: arrivederci‎, arrivederla‎, ciao‎
  •  Mopan Maya: d’yoos‎
  •  Sinhalese: ආයුබෝවන්‎, ආයුබෝ‎
  •  Irish: slán agat‎ (the person leaving), slán leat‎ (the person remaining), go ngnóthaigh Dia duit‎
  •  Yup’ik: tua-ingunnituq‎
  •  Persian: خداحافظ‎ (xodâhâfez), بدرود‎ (bedrud), خدا نگهدار‎ (xodâ negahdâr)

What is the origin of the word farewell?

According to Etymonline, the interjection farewell has been used as an expression at parting since the late fourteenth century. This comes from the Middle English faren wel or Middle English fare wel, which is a verbal phrase used around the year 1200. IT uses the imperative of faren. This stemmed the words “fare” and “well,” literally wishing someone to “fare well” in their next journey. This person would then reply with good-bye or goodbye. The word farewell is related to the West Frisian farwol. Norwegian farvel, Dutch vaarwel, Icelandic far vel, Scots farewele, and Danish farvel. The word farewell has been used as a noun to refer to a good-bye or leave-taking since the early 15th century. The expression to a fare-thee-well has been used since 1884 in American English.

How can the word farewell be used in a sentence?

The word farewell can be used in many different contexts and scenarios in English. Below are examples of farewell.

We gave a bittersweet farewell to the retiring employee at a grand farewell dinner party on Thursday. It was a great success, but the hardest part was seeing him pack up his desk in the recent weeks. 

The guests gave the bride and groom a beautiful farewell gift at their fantastic wedding. In lieu of providing physical gifts, everyone contributed to a honeymoon fund. 

Staff at Glenhest Community threw a special farewell party for their senior resident who was going to live with his family. 

What are synonyms and antonyms for the word farewell?

There are many different words and phrases that a person can use in place of the term farewell. These are called synonyms, which are words and phrases that have the same meaning as another given word or phrase. Learning synonyms is a great way to expand your English language vocabulary and avoid repeating yourself. This list of synonyms for the word farewell is provided by Thesaurus.

  •  parting
  •  hasta la vista
  •  good night
  •  good afternoon
  •  last look
  •  parting compliment
  •  wish of happiness
  •  cheerio
  •  ciao
  •  adieu
  •  swan song
  •  adios
  •  so long
  •  see ya
  •  have a nice day
  •  parting is such sweet sorrow
  •  permanent departure
  •  leave-taking
  •  toodle-oo
  •  goodbye
  •  sendoff
  •  bye-bye
  •  valediction
  •  bye
  •  adieus
  •  Godspeed
  •  salutation
  •  ta-ta
  •  adieux

There are also a number of words that have the opposite meaning of the word farewell; these opposite words are called antonyms. Learning antonyms is another great way to expand your English language vocabulary. This list of antonyms for the word farewell is also provided by Thesaurus.

  •  ciao
  •  hello
  •  acknowledgment
  •  how goes it
  •  greetings
  •  heralding
  •  hey
  •  shalom
  •  best wishes
  •  compellation
  •  salutation
  •  address
  •  attention
  •  aloha
  •  blow
  •  how-do-you-do
  •  hi-ya
  •  high five
  •  buenos dias
  •  bonjour
  •  ovation
  •  what’s happening
  •  nod
  •  good morning
  •  card
  •  howdy
  •  buenas noches
  •  howdy-do
  •  speaking to
  •  salute
  •  hail
  •  good day
  •  notice
  •  good wishes
  •  regards
  •  how are you
  •  ushering in
  •  what’s up
  •  hi
  •  note
  •  reception
  •  testimonial
  •  welcome
  •  accosting
  •  rumble
  •  salaam
  •  compliments
  •  respects
  •  highball
  •  letter. 

Overall, the imperative expression farewell means an expression of separation. This term comes from the Middle English farewel and the pronunciation of farewell is fer-ˈwel. 

Sources: 

  1. FAREWELL Synonyms: 19 Synonyms & Antonyms for FAREWELL | Thesaurus 
  2. HI Synonyms: 59 Synonyms & Antonyms for HI | Thesaurus 
  3. farewell | Origin and meaning of farewell | Online Etymology Dictionary 
  4. Farewell | Definition of Farewell | Merriam-Webster 
  5. farewell: meaning, origin, translation | Word Sense