So Many Ways to Say “Goodbye in Chinese”

Goodbye in Chinese

We have previously covered how to say “hello in Chinese.” So what about saying “Goodbye”? There are a surprising amount of different ways to say goodbye, whether for work, friends, dating, or formal meetings, and we’ll cover pretty much all you’ll need to know in this post.

The “Standard” Chinese Goodbyes

báibái -or- bāibāi
Bye Bye

This is a bit informal, even playful. You might not say it to someone you don’t know very well. Super common amongst younger people, or older people addressing youngsters.

Goodbye/ See you again

This is the traditional way of saying goodbye in Chinese. Not formal or informal, just kind of neutral. It is made up of the two Characters 再 zài, meaning “again” and 见 jiàn, which means “to see”, so it’s like saying “see you again”. Both characters are in the fourth tone.

See you in a while/later.

一会儿 yīhuǐr is “a while” or “in a while.” Use this when you’re leaving someone but will see them again the same day.

Meet you again/ See you later

This combination is made up of the two characters 会 huì, means “to meet” and 再 zài, which means “again” in Chinese.” So the literal translation is “Until we meet again.” This one is rather formal and rarely used.

Let’s stay in touch

This combination is made up of 再 zài, meaning “again in Chinese” and 联系 liánxi “to contact.” So the more literal translation might be “Let’s contact each other again.” However, “Let’s stay in touch” will work, too!

See you later

回头 Huítóu means “to turn one’s head around” but figurately means “later.” Therefore it is translated as “See you later.”

See you tomorrow

You can say this to your classmates or workmates when you are leaving and the day is over. The same goes for the following phrase when you leave for the weekend and see them next on Monday…

See you on Monday

Formal Ways of Saying Goodbye in Chinese

Goodbye in Chinese

shīpéi le
Excuse me; I must leave.

This is a very polite and informal way of excusing yourself. You can use this in a work environment.

shīpéi yīxià
Excuse me, but I have to leave you for a while.

This above is similar to the previous phrase, but we are just adding the 一下 yīxià, which means “a bit” in Chinese, softening the phrase somewhat.

wǒ xiān gàocí le
I’ll take my leave

我 wǒ means “I,” 先 xiān “first,” 告辞 gàocí “to take leave,” and the 了 le is often a past tense/change marker. Therefore the translation for this phrase is “I’ll take my leave first.” You could also say 我先走了 wǒ xiān zǒu le “I’m going first.”

我先告辞了 wǒ xiān gàocí le tends to be used rarely and only in exceptional situations like talking to someone with a higher social position or older than you to show them respect, whereas 我先走了 wǒ xiān zǒu le can be used any time you are the first to leave in a group of people in pretty much any situation.

I’m leaving

It is a formal way to announce one’s departure. Very formal and rather rarely used.

Other Ways of Saying Goodbye in Chinese

hòu huì yǒu qī

You might hear this phrase being used in movies a lot. It is a little bit more dramatic than a simple goodbye. This expression often gets used when you are not sure when you will meet that person again. You’ll seriously surprise and impress people with this one.

Take care

If you care about someone and would like to send them off well, you would use the above phrase. You can also add the following words 一路顺风 yī lù shùn fēng “May the wind be with you!” if you want to wish them a pleasant journey. What an excellent way to say goodbye! Both are very common and especially good for making an impression on those older or of a higher status than yourself.

A less formal way to tell someone to take care would be 慢走 Mànzǒu. It means “to walk slowly.” A very Chinese way for a host to see off their guests.

I am going to hang up

This phrase you can use when talking to your Chinese friends, family, or someone from work and you want to end the conversation on the phone.

yǒukòng zài liáo
When you’re free, let’s chat again.

A very casual and authentic way of saying goodbye. You will most likely use this phrase when talking to your friends. 

See you next time

下次 xiàcì means “next time.” You can use this expression to say goodbye to your friends until you see them again next time.

Bǎochí liánxì
Keep in Touch

A Chinese person might say this when you are leaving.

Precise Time

(_______)见 [jiàn]

If we add an exact time before 见, it means “see you” at that specific point in time. As we have mentioned, 见 jiàn means “to see.” So if we add an exact time before 见 jiàn, it means “see you” at that specific point in time. Here are some examples:

  1. 回头见 Huítóujiàn ”See you later.”
  2. 明天见 Míngtiānjiàn ”See you tomorrow.”
  3. 晚上见 Wǎnshàngjiàn “See you this evening/tonight.”
  4. 星期三见 Xīngqīsānjiàn” See you Wednesday.”
  5. 两周后见 Liǎng zhōu hòu jiàn” See you in two weeks.”
  6. 一会儿见 Yīhuǐrjiàn “See you in a while.”

In summary, all of the above phrases can be used to say goodbye to either friends, family, or workmates. Sometimes you might even hear combinations of some of these.

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