Definitions

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

  • interj. Used to express greeting or farewell.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • interj. hello, hi (especially US), howdy (US).
  • interj. bye, goodbye.

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

  • n. an acknowledgment that can be used to say hello or goodbye (aloha is Hawaiian and ciao is Italian)

Etymologies

Italian, from dialectal ciau, alteration of Italian (sono vostro) schiavo, (I am your) servant, from Medieval Latin sclavus, slave, servant; see slave.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
From Italian ciao ("hello, goodbye"), from Venetian ciao ("hello, goodbye, your (humble) servant"), from Venetian s-ciao / s-ciavo ("servant, slave"), from Medieval Latin sclavus ("Slav, slave"), related also to Italian schiavo, English Slav, slave and Old Venetian S-ciavón ("Slav"), from Latin Sclavonia ("Slavonia"). (Wiktionary)

Examples

Comments

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  • Ciao, sionnach.

    December 16, 2008

  • I find the claim that marzipan is derived from Venetian hard to believe, Roderick Conway Morris notwithstanding.

    The claim for artichoke is equally dubious. The etymological dictionary online tells us that:

    1531, from articiocco, Northern It. variant of It. arcicioffo, from O.Sp. alcarchofa, from Ar. al-kharshof "artichoke."

    suggesting that Venice was only a way station along a longer etymological pathway.

    ballot holds up as Venetian, but sequin only partially:

    1617, name of a former Italian and Turkish gold coin, from Fr. sequin, from It. zecchino, from zecca "a mint," from Ar. sikkah "a minting die." Meaning "ornamental disc or spangle" is first recorded 1882, from resemblance to a gold coin.

    ghetto is murky -

    1611, from It. ghetto "part of a city to which Jews are restricted," various theories of its origin include: Yiddish get "deed of separation;" special use of Venetian getto "foundry" (there was one near the site of that city's ghetto in 1516); Egitto "Egypt," from L. Aegyptus (presumably in memory of the exile); or It. borghetto "small section of a town" (dim. of borgo, of Gmc. origin, see borough). Extended 1892 to crowded urban quarters of other minority groups.

    lotto is traceable to the old English 'hlot'.
    imbroglio to the middle French word 'brouiller'

    Methinks that Roderick Conway Morris is not to be trusted. I can't be bothered to check the others.

    December 16, 2008

  • You can't negate implications like that. ^^
    That "ciao" is "a statement acknowledging something or someone" does not necessarily mean that any statement acknowledging something or someone is a ciao. Only for bijective relations both such statements would be true, respectively, it would be a bijective relation if both statements were true.

    Ciao.

    December 16, 2008

  • Ciao reesetee.

    December 13, 2008

  • Never mind the Hawaiian; look at the second definition. That would mean that nearly all of our comments here on Wordie are...uh...ciaos.

    December 13, 2008

  • Hello? Goodbye?

    December 12, 2008

  • I don't know why you say goodbye, I say hello.

    December 12, 2008

  • You say goodbye, I say hello.

    December 12, 2008

  • Why is WeirdNet bringing Hawaiian into this?

    T.L.S.: 'English words borrowed from Venetian include artichoke, arsenal, ballot, casino, contraband, gazette, ghetto, imbroglio, gondola, lagoon, lido, lotto, marzipan, pantaloon, pistachio, quarantine, regatta, scampi, sequin and zany. “Ciao�? – a long-standing contraction of the courteous Venetian salutation “vostro schiavo�? (your humble servant) – has now become a global greeting.'

    December 12, 2008