The British have a wide variety of expressions and slang terms they use to bid each other farewell. While “goodbye” is the most common and universal term, there are many creative, informal, and sometimes quirky ways Brits say goodbye depending on the situation and relationship between the speakers.
Common Goodbye Expressions
Here are some of the most common ways the British say goodbye:
- Goodbye – The most basic, universal way to say farewell.
- Bye – A casual shortened version of “goodbye.”
- Bye for now – A less permanent sounding goodbye.
- See you later – Suggests you expect to see the person again soon.
- See you soon – Also implies you’ll be seeing the person again in the near future.
- See ya – An extremely casual shortened version of “see you later.”
- Take care – Expresses wish for the person’s well-being.
- Take it easy – Tells the person to relax.
- Look after yourself – Similar to “take care.”
- All the best – Expresses hope for the person’s happiness and success.
- Have a good one – Refers to wishing the person a good day/evening.
These standard farewells are used in most casual everyday situations among friends, family, coworkers, and acquaintances. They can be used at any time of day. The most popular is “goodbye” while “bye” and “see you later” would be the most common informal versions. The others are additional polite ways to say farewell while extending well-wishes to the other person.
Goodbye Slang & Colloquialisms
In addition to the basic goodbye terms, British English has numerous slang and colloquial ways of informally bidding someone farewell. These relaxed phrases are used mostly in casual conversations among friends. Some examples include:
- Cheerio – Likely derived from “good cheer,” an old English blessing.
- Ta-ta – A very British way of saying goodbye with an air of sophistication.
- Toodle pip/toodle-oo – Also spelled “toodle pip,” an emphatic way of saying “goodbye.”
- Pip pip – Similar to “toodle pip,” with the same meaning.
- Chin chin – Originated as a drinking toast but also used humorously to say goodbye.
- Be good – Playfully tells someone to behave themselves.
- Don’t do anything I wouldn’t do – Humorously tells someone not to get into trouble.
- Go on, get out of here – A joking way to dismiss someone.
- Push off! – Literally means “go away” but can be used lightheartedly.
- Bugger off! – Considered mildly rude, telling someone to “get lost.”
- Sod off! – Even ruder way of telling someone to go away.
- Piss off! – Very rude way of forcefully telling someone to leave.
These casual terms and phrases are often said with humor and affection. However, some like “bugger off” and “piss off” can also carry a sense of real annoyance or dismissal if said in the wrong tone. So they should be used carefully depending on the relationship and situation.
Creative & Funny Goodbyes
Brits love to get creative with language, so there are endless funny and nonsensical ways they might say goodbye to friends and loved ones. Here are just a few examples of humorous parting phrases:
- Pip pip, cheerio
- Tarrah (ta-ra)
- Hasta la vista, baby
- Peace out
- Catch you on the flip side
- See you on the other side
- Beam me up, Scotty
- Elvis has left the building
Brits love dry wit and ironically using foreign words and phrases. You might hear any of these quirky sayings uttered jokingly between friends. They likely originate from movies and TV shows consumed in British popular culture over the decades. Sometimes the silliest ways of saying goodbye can be the most meaningful when shared among close companions.
Goodbye Based on Time of Day
Brits will often choose a goodbye greeting that is appropriate for the time of day. Here are examples:
- Morning: Have a good morning, See you this afternoon, Catch you later
- Afternoon: Bye for now, See you tonight, Catch you tomorrow
- Evening: Goodnight, Sleep well, Sweet dreams
Using a time-specific goodbye makes the farewell more relevant and meaningful. “Have a good morning” or “Goodnight” wishes the person well at the start or end of their day. Other greetings like “See you tonight” demonstrate care by noting when you expect to meet again.
How Friends Say Goodbye to Each Other
There are certain unspoken rules among friends regarding proper goodbye etiquette. Close pals will generally use casual, playful goodbyes sprinkled with affectionate terms:
- See ya later, mate
- Bye for now, love
- Laters, bestie!
- Catch up soon, friend!
- Bye gorgeous!
- Ciao, darling!
The fun slang phrases are balanced with words of endearment to emphasize the close bond. It’s also common to make plans for future contact by saying “Catch up soon.” This keeps the friendship feeling ongoing and solidifies future meetups.
How to Say Goodbye Professionally
In formal business situations, proper etiquette calls for more polite goodbye language. Professional greetings include:
- It was nice to meet you
- Have a good rest of your day
- Take care
- All the best
- Goodbye, enjoy your evening
- Have a good weekend
Words like “cheerio” and “ta-ta” are too informal. Make sure to thank the person for their time, and wish them well in a warm yet professional way. Don’t get too personal by saying things like “Take care, love.” Keep it cordial.
Saying Goodbye Romantically
For couples in romantic relationships, goodbye takes on a whole new meaning. Sweet nothings whispered at the end of a date might include:
- I had a lovely time, darling
- Parting is such sweet sorrow, my love
- Farewell, my sweet
- Until we meet again, my dear
- Goodbye, my angel
- May our dreams be filled with thoughts of each other
- You have my heart
- Yours always
Romantic partners will linger over their farewells, finding it hard to part ways. Sweet pet names, poetic quotations, promises of the next meeting, and sentiments of affection all flow freely in romantic goodbyes.
Blowing kisses, longing looks, warm embraces, and passionate kisses also accompany the goodbye words. There may be many “see you soons” and “just one more kisses” before the lovers finally force themselves to part.
As we’ve seen, the British have countless ways to bid friends, colleagues, and loved ones adieu. Everything from classic formal terms to rhyming slang to funny foreign borrowings to heartfelt romantic lines reflect the diverse ways Brits connect. Slang and informality empower friends to get creative together, while politeness and professionalism govern formal occasions.
So whether you want to toast someone with a “cheerio” or dismiss them with a sarcastic “don’t let the door hit you,” there’s a perfect British goodbye phrase for the moment. Just be sure to choose wisely based on your relationship, the setting, and the time of day. With so many wonderful options, you can always find just the right way to send a thoughtful British farewell.