Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • interj. Used to express goodbye.
  • n. An acknowledgment at parting; a goodbye.
  • n. The act of departing or taking leave.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. A wish of happiness or welfare at parting, especially a permanent departure; the parting compliment; a goodbye; adieu.
  • n. An act of departure; leave-taking; a last look at, or reference to something.
  • adj. parting, valedictory, final
  • interj. goodbye
  • v. To bid farewell or say goodbye

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • adj. Parting; valedictory; final
  • n. A wish of happiness or welfare at parting; the parting compliment; a good-by; adieu.
  • n. Act of departure; leave-taking; a last look at, or reference to something.
  • interj. Go well; good-by; adieu; -- originally applied to a person departing, but by custom now applied both to those who depart and those who remain. It is often separated by the pronoun; ; and is sometimes used as an expression of separation only

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • ‘Fare well’; may you be or continue in a happy or prosperous condition; in common use, good-by.
  • [It is still often written separately, with a pronoun between, the pronoun being either the subject nominative, as in “fare you well” or “fare ye well,” or a dative of reference, as in “fare thee well.”
  • Synonyms Good-by, etc. See adieu, interj.
  • n. A good-by; a leave-taking; an adieu.
  • n. Farewell followed by to governing the object is a noun, used elliptically for “I bid farewell (to …).”
  • n. Leave; departure; final look, thought, or attention.
  • Parting; valedictory: as, a farewell sermon; farewell appearance of an actor.
  • To bid farewell to; take leave of.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • n. the act of departing politely
  • n. an acknowledgment or expression of goodwill at parting

Etymologies

Middle English fare wel : imperative of faren, to fare; see fare + wel, well; see well2.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
From Middle English farewel, from fare wel!, an imperative expression, equivalent to fare (“to fare, travel, journey”) +‎ well. Cognate with Scots farewele, fairweill ("farewell"), West Frisian farwol ("farewell"), Dutch vaarwel ("farewell"), Danish farvel ("farewell"), Norwegian farvel ("farewell"), Faroese farvæl ("farewell"), Icelandic far vel ("farewell"). (Wiktionary)

Examples

  • President Jimmy Carter did it in his farewell address a speech he concluded with the word farewell, which is the proper way to end a farewell address.

    No Uncertain Terms

  • Mladic attorney Milos Saljic visited him in his jail cell in the early afternoon and said the former general was crying and very emotional during what he called a farewell visit by his wife and sister.

    Mladic spending night in isolation at UN prison

  • Their relationship culminates with a very revealing poem that aptly begins with the word farewell.

    The Blackstone Key

  • It was on the 28th of September, 1880, that several of my friends and relatives had gathered in the parlor to have what they called a farewell chat with me while I was yet their girl companion.

    My own life, or, A deserted wife,

  • He has been publicly girding for his incarceration with a series of goodbyes, including what he called a farewell tour in recent months and a recent Rolling Stone cover story in which he said he considered jail "an experience that I need to have if God's putting me through it."

    WRAL.com Top Stories

  • Then they waved their hands in farewell and went away slowly across the campus toward the burning city.

    Page 4

  • There was nothing to be done, so they went down and said good-bye to the little old man, who waved farewell from the promenade deck as the big steamer poked her nose seaward through the coral reef.

    Chun Ah Chun

  • Gregory Clark makes the case in farewell to alms, that Malthus was right, and all preindustrial states lived under malthusian trap.

    Coyote Blog » Blog Archive » The Narrow-Mindedness of Zero-Sum Thinking

  • Domar, his eyes fastened on the peaks, said nothing either, did not so much as nod in farewell or thanks, so focused had his thoughts become.

    Caribou House « A Fly in Amber

  • Bub waved his hand in farewell, and his mates clustered along the rail as they answered with a cheering shout.

    The Lost Poacher

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Comments

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  • The saddest goodbye song is one of the most simple (of course, that's just my opinion).

    December 9, 2009

  • goodbye for ever!

    September 28, 2007