Is there an english(or other languages, and in Ca) equivalent for the french "adieu"?

Another transation question. “Adieu”, in french, normally implies that you won’t ever meet again the other person.

Dictionnaries translate it as “farewell”, but I’m unconvinced since it seems to me that “farewell” doesn’t usually imply such a thing.
On second thought, I’m wondering if there’s an equivalent to this word in languages other than english (and changing the thread title accordingly).
On third tought : in southern France, “adieu” can be used to mean plainly “good bye” or even “hello”. As a result, I’m also wondering about the usual meaning of “adieu” in canadian french.

I could see using “farewell” to translate “adieu”, but “farewell” is becoming archaic, I think. I would expect the sentiment to be spelled out to some degree:

She: I’m sorry John, but I can’t take it anymore.
He: But Helen! Give me another chance, please!
She: I gave you chances, but you wasted them. I’m sorry. Goodbye. I don’t want to see you again.
He: No! Heleeeeeeeennnnn!

Elle: Je regrette Jean, mais je ne peut plus.
Il: Mais Helen, encore une fois en plus, je t’en prie!
Elle: Tu a jete les opportunites que je t’ai donne. Non, c’est adieu.
Il: Non! Heeeleeeennnn!

Perhaps this isn’t the best example I can give, but I’m not a romance writer in either language and it’s been a while since I’ve actively used or read French. However, in translating the English, “adieu” by itself carries as much weight as the phrase “Goodbye. I don’t want to see you again.”


“Have a good life” might be an English equivalent, although it might be more commonly used when you don’t WANT to see the person again.

Did anyone else take the “Ca” in the title to be California instead of Canada? :slight_smile:

Adieu has it’s roots in "go with God’, much like "good-bye’ does. Really, it’s the context and intonation.

Adieu, yes, seems likely to stem from Allez Avec Dieu. Cf. vaya Con Dios, Go With God.

Is that like the German distinction between “Auf Wiedersehen” and “Tschuss?”

When I part ways with someone whom I know I’ll probably never see again, I usually say “Good luck to you” or “Best of luck to you”. I do this with people I’ve known for years and with those I’ve only known for a day.

I would translate it as “so long”. I can’t imagine saying that to anyone I plan on seeing again.

Actually, the word used in (American Great Lakes) English to mean “I will never see you again” is generally “goodbye.”
To recognize a departure when we expect to meet again, we might use “bye,” “see ya,” “so long,” (“s’long”), “hasta la vista” (even before Terminator 2), or a host of oher phrases, (several borrowed from other languages).

Good bye is often used as a final declaration. (This is not to say that no one ever uses “good bye” in place of “see ya,” but the rejoinder to “good bye” is frequently “No. Not good bye. We will meet again.”)

I was taught in French class that Adieu didn’t stem from Allez Avec Dieu, but was short for (we will meet) A Dieu, at God.
So, in heaven, when we both have died. Hence the implied meaning that adieu meant to never see that person alive again.

An English literal translation would be: “See you in heaven”.

Oh, and how about “live well and prosper?” :wink:

That’s what I always assumed, but I actually didn’t check out the etymology.

From the perspective of a Western Canadian I agree with tomndebb that goodbye (a contraction of “god be with you”), is the English word usually used to have a connotation of finality to it in the same sense as does adieu, though it may also be used as the parting comment in a formal setting.

In my experience, if “goodbye” is intended to be other than a final parting statement, the user will add context to it, either by other words or tone of voice to moderate the effect of “goodbye”, or, again as Tom said, the receiver will clarify.

Ok, so ** snailboy ** and ** Tomndebb ** seem to have a disagreement about the implied meaning of “so long”. Regional differences? What would an englishman say? By the way, what would be the origin of “so long”? It looks like the shortening of a longer sentence.

And what about farewell, proposed by ** Vlad/Igor **? What would the average person think I mean if I was to tell him “farewell”? Would he laugh? Is it archaic to the point it wouldn’t be used anymore, even in, say, some melodrama?

Farewell won’t get you mocked or laughed at. You might mark yourself as someone with a quirky vocabulary. (It might sound a bit pretentious to some people. If they found the rest of your conversation pretentious, they might mock the farewell, but just saying it should not get you mocked.)

I have no idea where “so long” means “we will never meet again,” but I would not claim that it cannot be a regional usage.

Well this thread has certainly been enlightening. “Farewell” is archaic? Everyone close to me right now knows what it means by a quick poll. It’s not something that is commonly spoken but it seems to make appereances in movies, books, and the like, particularly in epics or dramas.

To me “goodbye” is just a more sincere, possibly formal form of “bye.” In all my life there’s never been a sense of finality to it.

While we all know what “farewell” means, I’d still say it’s pretty archaic.
Claiobscu - it would be pretty rude for people to laugh at you, but it would sound unsual and quirky to say the least. If I were talking to someone who said “farewell”, that person having learned English as a second language, I’d probably actually think it helpful to suggest that it sounds very unusual, assuming, of course, that I could do so without giving offence.

(My remark r[fers to the U.K. - I have no real idea of translatlantic usage)

While I never felt that “Goodbye” or “bye” was particuarly final, my husband does. He say’s “bye for now”. Used to drive me nuts, but I’ve adapted. I grew up near Philadelphia, and he’s from Nova Scotia.

I’ve noticed the Irish often end telephone conversations or chance meetings in the street with “Good Luck!”

The OP is a classic illustration of why you should intepret rather than translate. It’s a question of register. “Au revoir” means until we see each other again, there are similar expressions in Italian (Arrivederci/Civeddiamo), Poish (Do Widzenia), Spanish (Hasta Luego) - this is normal everyday language (words like Ciao & Czesc are the informal versions) it’s just that the English “See you later/tomorrow/ etc.” is seen as less formal and we have kept our “God Be With You” (shortened to Goobye) as the formal farewell. Other languages/cultures use their “God” phrases as a permanent goodbye - Adios, Addio etc. Just MHO of course.

Huh. That’s interesting because my maternal grandparents came from Ireland and I understand my paternal side has quite a bit of Irish in it as well. Perhaps I picked up the “Good luck” habit from family somehow.

[sub] I also sometimes refer to my son as “the boy” - which someone once commented was an Irish thing as well. Maybe I was influenced as a wee laddie :wink: [/sub]