Saying goodbye in Portuguese seems to have more to it than one would expect at the beginning. After all, there must be just a word to say it and that´s it, right? WRONG!
Remember, Portuguese people are very nostalgic as I have previously mentioned in my other posts, so saying goodbye can become something similar to rocket science. Ok, ok, maybe I am exaggerating, but we do have many expressions and words to say goodbye, and I am going to explain each of them in the following paragraphs.
The art of saying goodbye in Portuguese
Let us start by this very interesting little word. Adeus means literally “to God”. If you separate the word into its syllables, you will get A-DEUS, “a” meaning “to” and “Deus” meaning “God”. So, there you go, when we say goodbye in its more pure sense, we are literally sending people “To God”. Don’t be scared, though, if in your language this has a different meaning, like sending someone straight to its death. No, we do not wish that this person will perish soon. This just comes from the old version of the greeting and it is short for “I wish you to go with God”, something like this. At least, this is my interpretation of it. This means we wish the person to go safely, wherever she is going. We are very caring people too, I guess, so we need to make sure we send people away with a nice greeting and best wishes. In some books/ articles, you will maybe find the explanation that this word is considered more formal, but this is not entirely true. Although if we want to be formal, we will choose it over the others, we also use it many times just with our friends and relatives, not at all in a formal setting.
Tchau/ Chau/ Xau
I only emphasise the word “Xau” because it is the way most people tend to write it in European Portuguese. However, I believe this word has been adopted from the Brazilian Portuguese “Tchau or Chau” and therefore I think that is the correct way to spell it. This word simply means “bye” or “see ya”. It is a quite more informal way of saying your goodbyes, and it is widely used nowadays. This is the way we speak to our friends and family in a more informal way and also how we end a conversation when texting, etc.
This expression is used when you see somebody off and you are not sure when exactly you will see that person again. You leave it open. You know you will probably see them soon (or at least you want to give that impression), but you are not making any specific commitments about when that will happen. It is like a “See you soon”, literally means “Until soon”. Now, sometimes you really genuinely wish to see this person soon, but sometimes you just say it not to be rude, leaving space for you not having to compromise.
Até qualquer dia
It literally means “Until any day”, which we could translate into “See you one of these days”. I won’t be long about this one, since it has almost the same meaning as the expression “Até breve”, explained above.
When you know you will see this person soon but not in the same day (you are not just pretending this time, you REALLY know it is very likely to see them soon), you can use “Até amanhã”. Literally it means “Until tomorrow” and we could say it is the equivalent in English to “See you tomorrow”. However, although sometimes we really do mean it as “See you TOMORROW”, many times we don’t really mean that. In fact, we can also be referring to some day in the near future, being it the next day, the day after the next or some day on that week. It is weird, I know. Ah, the wonders of European Portuguese!
Many times pronounced as “Até loguinho” (remember, we like diminutives), especially by older people, this expression means “Until later” or in a more English friendly way “See you later”. We normally take this expression out of the closet (closet being our heads) when we want to depart but we know that we will see the other person or people later that day. Normally some hours will pass until we see them, but we are almost sure that that will happen.
Also used when we know we will see our interlocutor really soon. This time we mean soon, SOON, like in an hour or two or even less. Do you know when you are working and you leave to have lunch and you say “See you in a bit”? Well, this means just that. So next time you go to lunch (or dinner, or whatever makes you leave for a couple of hours), if you want to sound cool, pat your friend in the back and say “Até já, meu amigo…até já!”.
Tenha um bom dia
As another really nice way to leave, we have this saying, which is more a wish. It literally means “Have a good day”. It is used formally here, but you can also say it to friends or family if you change it slightly into “Tem um bom dia”. However, it is true that it is not very common to use it in a more informal way (we prefer “XAU”. Ok, we like being nice but we also need shorter words to get going with our days…do you know how many times we have to say goodbye a day?).
Continuação ( e saúdinha)
If you translate this literally into English, you will obtain the word “Continuation”. It sounds a bit weird, I know. This is just short for “Continuação de um bom dia”, in English “Continuation of a good day” or less literally, “I wish that the rest of your day is good”. We really are nice people aren’t we? But again, we like to cut expressions shorter! The rest I added “e saúdinha” it is also something older people like to add, meaning they wish good health to their interlocutor. “Saúdinha” is the diminutive of “Saúde”, which means “health”.
So, now you know many ways of saying goodbye to someone in many different situations that can occur in everyday life. Having written that, I do not think I have much more to add, except maybe for “Continuation and little health to you” (ah ah, isn’t it nice to literally translate things from Portuguese into English?”. Now seriously…continuação e saúdinha!