How to Say Goodbye in Italian

Опубликовал Admin
21-12-2020, 13:30
In general, Italian culture is relatively formal. Once you've successfully stumbled through a beginning conversation in Italian, the last thing you want to do is offend the person with the wrong "goodbye." In most situations, "arrivederci" (ah-ree-veh-DEHR-chee) will work just fine and indicate the proper level of respect. If you only learn one way to say "goodbye" in Italian, this is probably the best one to learn. However, there are plenty of other things you can say as you part ways with someone depending on the circumstances.

Speaking Formally

  1. Say "arrivederci" in most situations. "Arrivederci" (ah-ree-veh-DEHR-chee) is perhaps the most common way to say "goodbye" in Italian. While there are other ways to say "goodbye," if you know this one, you can use it in pretty much any context and not have to worry about offending anyone.
    • The "-ci" ending is an informal ending. However, this Italian "goodbye" is so common that it's considered okay to use regardless of the context.
  2. Switch to "arrivederla" in the most formal situations. "Arrivederla" (ah-ree-veh-DEHR-lah) is simply the more formal version of "arrivederci." In most situations, "arrivederci" will work just fine. However, if you're parting ways with someone who is significantly older than you, or in a position of authority, you might want to use "arrivederla" instead, just to be on the safe side.
    • The worst that could happen if you use "arrivederla" is that the person will tell you that you're being too formal. At that point, you could return to using "arrivederci" instead. However, by using "arrivederla," you're simply showing extra respect. The other person won't be offended.
  3. Alter your parting words depending on the time of day. In English, phrases such as "good morning" or "good evening" are typically used exclusively as greetings, not also as parting words. However, in Italian, these greetings can also be used to say "goodbye." The meaning changes to something more like "have a good morning" or "have a good evening." Some alternate ways to say goodbye include:
    • "Buongiorno" (bwohn-JOHR-noh): "Have a good day"
    • "Buonasera" (bowhn-ah-SEHR-ah): "Have a good evening"
    • "Dormi bene" (dohr-mee BEHN-ay): "Sleep well." Best used with people you're more familiar with when you're parting for the night.
  4. Use "a risentirla" in a professional setting. The phrase "a risentirla" (ah rree-sehn-TEHR-lah) roughly means "until we speak again," but the "-la" ending makes it more formal. This phrase is appropriate in a business context, if you're talking to a client or someone higher up than you.
    • You can also use "a risentirci" (ah rree-sehn-TEHR-chee) if you're on more familiar terms with the person but still want to be somewhat formal.
    • "A risentirla" is also a polite way to end a phone conversation, particularly if the phone call was work-related.
  5. Go with "addio" if you're never going to see the person again. The word "addio" (ah-DEE-oh) is a rather dramatic way to say "farewell," typically tinged with sadness. The word came from the phrase "a Dio," which means "to God." When you use it, you're usually implying that, while you're unlikely to encounter the person again, you wish them well.
    • While "addio" may sound similar to the Spanish farewell "adios," it's used far less often. Think of this as a definite, final "goodbye" — the end of a relationship, for example.

Using Casual Words and Phrases

  1. Say "ciao" to family and friends in a casual setting. You're likely familiar with the Italian greeting "ciao" (pronounced, roughly "chow"). Like "aloha" in Hawaii, this greeting is used both when meeting and when parting ways. However, it is a very casual greeting that you should only use with people you know well, and even then only in less formal settings.
    • If you're traveling in Italy, you'll likely hear people saying "ciao" to one another frequently. However, if you look more closely, you'll find that the word is being exchanged between people who clearly know each other well or are in the same peer group — never among strangers.
  2. Switch to "salve" when talking to strangers. Like "ciao," "salve" (SAHL-vay) can be used both as a greeting and as a farewell. However, "salve" is not as casual as "ciao," which makes it an appropriate casual greeting if you're talking to strangers.
    • "Salve" is best in informal contexts, such as if you're talking to someone around your own age or younger. Avoid using it with people significantly older than you or in a position of authority, as it may seem disrespectful.
    • "Salve" is also a Latin word. If you're traveling in Italy, you'll hear "salve" more frequently in Rome than in other parts of Italy.
  3. Go with "a presto" to say "see you soon." If you're talking to a friend and know that you're going to see them later on, you might want to use "a presto" (ah PREHS-toh) instead of "goodbye." The phrase is typically used when you know you're going to see the person again soon, although you may not know for sure exactly when.
    • "A presto" can also be used to get you out of awkward meetings or conversations. While the phrase implies that you'll pick up the subject at a later time, it doesn't pin down a specific time when you'll see the person again.
    • You can also say "a dopo" (ah DOH-poh), which means "see you later." This phrase is more commonly used when you have definite plans with the person in the future or know that you're going to see them again. For example, if you're chatting with a barista at a café and you tell them you plan on returning the next morning, you might say "a dopo" as you leave, because you know you're going to see them again the next morning.


  • In Italian words, always place stress on the next-to-last syllable, regardless of the number of syllables in the word.


  • Pronunciation guides in this article are approximations. For better pronunciation, listen to native speakers and mimic the way they say the words.
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