“Goodbye” comes from “God be with you.”

Original photo by Diana Grytsku/ Shutterstock

“Goodbye” comes from “God be with you.”

Many farewells have religious connections. Adiosin Spanish and adieu in French mean “to God,” for example.

The go-to parting phrase in English, “goodbye,” looks rather secular by comparison — it just means to part on good terms, right? Well, looks can be deceiving. “Goodbye” is actually a contraction of the phrase “God be with ye,” and started popping up around the 1570s (spelled “godbwye”). The “God” part of “goodbye” likely gained an extra “o” over time to be consistent with other common English salutations, such as “good morning” and “good night.”

It might make sense to think that the word “good,” styled “gōd” in Old English, comes from some etymologically divine background. Yet despite their seeming similarities, “good” and “God” developed separately from one another. “Gōd” in Old English simply means “excellent; fine; valuable, etc.,” whereas the origin of “God” to refer to an all-knowing deity is harder to pin down. In its Germanic past, the word was actually plural (“gods”) and neuter (meaning not masculine or feminine), which reflected the polytheism common throughout Europe before the rise of Christianity.

Once Europe embraced a more monotheistic existence, the word “God” transformed into a singular, masculine noun. This polytheistic history can be seen in other languages, too. Remember adios and adieu? Both come from the Latin root “deus,” a derivation of Greek mythology’s mightiest deity — Zeus.

Categories: Articole de interes general

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