How to say goodbye in Portuguese

Goodbye In Portuguese How Many Ways Are There

How to say goodbye in PortugueseSaying 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.

Até breve 

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.

Até amanhã 

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!

Até logo 

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.

Até já

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!

Até logo! How to say goodbye in Portuguese




P.S. Do you know already how to say “Hello” in European Portuguese? There is more than just “Olá” =)

11 Comments to “Goodbye In Portuguese How Many Ways Are There”

  1. Hi Mia,

    This is a pretty cool site. I’m impressed that you have been able to learn so many languages. I spent a couple years in Brazil trying to learn Portuguese. I got the knowledge of it down pretty well, but I could never get the accent right. I had children telling me that I talked funny the whole time I was down there. Still, it was fun to live in a different culture for a couple years.

    My wife and I took a trip to Portugal last fall and absolutely loved your country. I thought I’d be able to make my way there a little better having spent a couple years in Brazil, but between the length of time I haven’t practiced and the difference with which the Portuguese speak it, I was amazed at how little I was able to communicate. It was nice to be able to understand all the road signs even though I couldn’t speak it very well.

    Anyway. Cool site. Keep up the good work.

    1. Hey! Thanks for the thorough comment! Really appreciate it! Nice that you liked my country and that you have tried to learn my language. It is normal, though, that you haven’t understood much here in Portugal since, as you said, you had been long without practicing and we speak quite differently from the Brazilians. They open more their vowels than we do.. if you’re interested you can check my other blog post which is named ” Brazilian Portuguese vs European Portuguese. There you can find some of the main differences between them. Feel free to comment if you want 😉
      I will take a look at your blog 🙂 wanna see what you said about my little country.
      Thanks again and good luck with everything. Feel free to come back here any time.. I will be putting some material for learning, so maybe you can give it another go with your Portuguese!

      See you!

  2. Hey Mia,

    What a great post ! , I never learn Portuguese but I know a lil bit of Spanish, thought it would be the same because some how it sounds bit same, then thought I was wrong :p. It’s good to know that you have different saying in a different terms and conditions. Such a rich language and vocabulary though. Anyway keep it coming, waiting for your other post 😀

    1. Hi! Thank you for your comment. In fact, Spanish and Portuguese come from the same language family – the Romance languages- so they do look similar when you read them. They are also very closely related in terms of grammar and vocabulary. However, it is interesting that you say that somehow they sound the same, because it’s exactly there where they most diverge from each other. Maybe you have just a “good ear” and you could take the similarities from the speech. Well done!
      Thanks for commenting and please do come back at any time =)

  3. Hi Mia, I have learnt something from you. Didn’t know that Adeus had its origin from “I wish you to go with God”. Language is rich with history. I am of Chinese decent, born in Singapore. I learnt recently that the old way of writing the Chinese character for ‘listen’ 聽 consists of several components:
    Ear = What you use to listen (hear)
    King = Pay attention as if the other person were king (obey)
    Ten and Eye = Be observant as if you had ten eyes (heed)
    One = Listen with individual attention (attend to)
    Heart = Listen also with your heart (in addition to ear and eye) (hearken)
    Now the modern Chinese character 听 has been simplified and the meaning lost too.

    Just as you are passionate about your city, so am I. Would love to visit your country one day.

    1. Wow! Thank you so much for this about the Chinese characters. I love languages and it’s really nice to read about it! Chinese (Mandarin or Cantonese or other variations or dialects) is really rich! I really am intrigued by your language 🙂
      Thanks for your comment! Please keep coming back if you’re interested in learning more about my language and culture (I also have a page dedicated to culture!).
      See you soon and beijinhos,

  4. Olá Mia, great article. I am living in Portugal now for some time and have heard most of the expressions for saying good bye, but Continuação ( e saúdinha) I have never heard. I will try it next time when the situation is good for it. Funny thing, at work I heard people telling me a phrase before going out of the lift, and now I know what they were saying: Tenha um bom dia …. now it makes sense 😉 Now I can answer them at least ahah.
    Keep going with the great work!

    1. Ahah Dominik! I am glad I could help you in your everyday endeavours =)

      1. Boa Noite, a Mia! (Would you write the “a” there?),

        Eo Sao Patricio de California. Haha that’s the end of our conversation lol.
        I stumbled upon your European Portuguese site and I’m so glad I did because it’s the only I’ve seen with instruction in European Portuguese which is what I need. Moreover, I just like your site overall, your instruction style, the relevant tidbits you cover that help me understand not just the language but the culture. and your Portuguese warmth comes through in the material you provide us. 🌝☺️I’m also impressed with your credentials in languages; obviously you are trying to design a high quality educational program that’s relevant in a practical way for visitors. Obrigado!

        I undertook about a year of study of Brazilian Portuguese in 1999 in preparation for my visit to Brazil, and especially to Rio de Janeiro for New Year’s 2000! That was amazing! At the time, I had a Brazilian roommate, a Brazilian housekeeper, I was taking classes at the community college and listening to CDs in my car Car. I really focused on the sound of the words, the dialect etc. and I got pretty good at saying words correctly, tho my command of vocabulary, and especially, putting sentences together on my own (other than the most common phrases), let’s just say a lot was more limited LOL. And What I discovered was when you can speak the language with command of the dialect but you don’t really know the language very well, The locals are impressed, but it tends to get you into trouble LOL. Mostly because they think you know more than you actually do.

        I have a very happy reason to be studying again Portuguese, this time though European Portuguese. That is, I have an opportunity to move and live there with a residential visa, and to apply for citizenship in five years! And I know that I need to have a command of the language in order to be awarded citizenship. And that’s a long time away, but I believe I may be moving to your country next year. So time to get started!.

        My main question right now is I still have a lot of materials on Brazilian Portuguese including a lot of CDs. Now that’s all in the Brazilian dialect. I started to listen to them again but I’m wondering if that’s such a good idea. And if not, do you have or know of any CDs or etc. that one can listen to the sound of the words and Build on conversation accuracy etc.? It seems like you do offer that in your course; I just didn’t know how much.

        I really liked reading all the different ways that you can say goodbye and what they mean, but I don’t get to hear you say those words which would really help me in saying them correctly. I say them in my head but maybe I’m not saying them right. Is there way that you can add that into most of your lessons so that when you, for example, introduce us to “Ate Ja”, I get to hear you say those words? Or is that covered somewhere else and I just don’t know that?.

        Lastly, are there dialect differences between the north and the south or the city vs the country? Do you cover that at all, or different colloquialisms that maybe are said more in one region or the other? I think you do but I was just wondering.

        I look forward to working with you over possibly the next several years, and in the hopes that I can pass the language proficiency exam and achieve my passport and citizenship! And if I do move to Portugal, I was considering volunteering to assist Portuguese people learn American English, and also incorporate music and singing as a part of that. I will probably at least initially be based in Lisbon, and actually talked to one school or after school program about volunteering and they seemed interested. But just throwing it out there. As well as if anybody is in the Los Angeles area wants to practice and learn together European Portuguese please let me know! My email address is above.

        And I’d like to bring 🇵🇹 to 🇺🇸 It’s a country we don’t know about as much and it’s time. I think California and Portugal mesh well together with similarities in a number of ways. Let me share some ideas.

        Thanks again and Xauinha 😉


        1. Olá Patricio, tudo bem?
          Thank you so much for your lengthy comment and your insights. I really appreciate all the ideas and feedback that people can give me, so I am really glad you did so!

          About the CDs in Brazilian Portuguese, I think maybe you should not do that because as you know the sounds are totally different and there are even some words and pieces of grammar that do not match European Portuguese. Sure, if you come to Portugal and speak Brazilian Portuguese everyone will understand you. But I guess this is not what you want, right? You want to actually speak the European Portuguese variant and even more importantly, you want to understand what Portuguese people say. I am afraid that if you stick to the Brazilian Cds, this will not happen.

          Therefore, I advise you to either try Pimsleur, here (I give a lengthy review on this) or the Mimic Method.

          The Mimic Method is really good as it is a kind of innovative approach to learning languages. You can find my review here as well! If you have any questions about either of this, please let me know =)

          About the audios. I am currently trying to add audios in most of my blog posts and I will sure be adding to this post soon. So stay around, and soon you will be able to listen to it! =) Thanks for the suggestion 😉

          About my course I would like to tell you that this will be covering all the A1 level and I want to achieve C2, so that people who cannot take face-to-face classes or that just want to have some extra help, can follow it and get a full online Portuguese course. Right now I have three lectures online and I am adding the 4th lecture really soon. In this course I cover a bit of everything: grammar, listening, pronunciation, speaking. I hope to bring a bit of everything so to make it as complete as possible. Further down the road, I will also probably have videos focusing on just listening or just speaking, but for now I am trying to add a bit of everything!

          In some of my posts I do speak about pronunciation. I did not focus in the differences between North and South or City vs Countryside yet, but there are some minor differences, yes. Especially in the accents. In the North we still preserve the original Portuguese a bit more, while the south got some influences from other dialects and changed a bit. But in general the differences are not so much and we do understand each other perfectly. The most different accent we have here is from the island Azores..sometimes the pronunciation of words is so different I can’t even understand anything. Especially the accent of people from Sao Miguel =) In the future, I might be adding a blog post about these differences =)

          I hope that we do work together in the upcoming years and that you fulfil your goal of getting Portuguese citizenship. I believe they ask for level A2 and up. This is not hard to achieve, I guess. Harder is to get to a point where you can really speak and understand people well, but I guess with your motivation you will get there soon!

          Let me know if I answered all your questions Patricio. If you want, you can subscribe to my newsletter (if you didn’t yet) and you will receive all the news first-hand!
          Let me know if I can help you more in any way! I am rooting for you and your Portuguese adventure! It is a great language and Portugal is a great country so you will probably not regret it! I am biased, though =)

          I wish you a nice day and I hope to hear from you in the near future!

          Kind Regards and beijinhos,

        2. *Edit*
          As promised, I just added the audios to the article =)

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