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I heard you can say goodbye in several ways in Italian. What are the ways to say goodbye in Italian and when should I use each goodbye?

  • Welcome to Italian.SE, @bodacydo! – Charo Oct 30 '15 at 21:31
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Yes, there different ways to tell goodbye:

Arrivederci

Normally it's used in formal environments with person that aren't friends (but it's not mandatory)

Ciao

It's used only between friends or colleagues. Children use this.

Addio

It's used rarely but it's used when one leaves a person and doesn't know when they will meet them again.

Buona giornata / Buona serata / Buona notte / Buon pomeriggio

These are used in place of Arrivederci or Ciao. They can be used both in formal environment or between friends. Pay attention to the fact that we use Buona sera/Buon giorno when we meet a person and Buona serata/Buona giornata when we leave them.

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    Just a nitpick: to me Addio strongly implies that I do not think I will ever meet that person again, not just that I do not know whether I will. I do not know if this is a regional variation or something else. – Denis Nardin Oct 30 '15 at 22:21
  • Yes, it's used also with this nuance. But it's not always true: last month I used it to tell goodbye to my sister because I don't know when I will meet her (maybe in 10 years ? ). – Andrea Tosoni Oct 30 '15 at 22:26
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    Addio used to be a common form, equivalent to the English good bye; then it acquired a sense of “we won't see any more”, which is not in the original meaning, that is, ti raccomando a Dio. The reason for the shift in meaning is quite clear, though. – egreg Oct 31 '15 at 14:01
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    I don't know whether the meaning has shifted over time, but nowadays saying "addio" is indeed understood as a definitive part. For one, here's Treccani's definition: "Forma di saluto usata per accomiatarsi definitivamente". – kos Oct 31 '15 at 14:21
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    “Ciao” being used among (almost) strangers is parallel to “tu”, rather than “Lei”, being used in the same circumstances (friendly shopkeepers, same-age encounters etc.). For some people it is the default usage, other ones resent it. – DaG Oct 31 '15 at 18:05
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Apart the ones cited by @andreatosoni there are many informal ways to say goodbye:

Stammi bene!

that means take care and has also an informal equivalent in Si riguardi!

In gamba!

quite similar to the aforementioned

Un bacio!

or

Baci!

and

Un abbraccio!

which are affectionate ways of saying good bye or even take care.

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And many others:

Ci vediamo!

or

A presto!

or

Bona!

or

A domani!

or

Ti saluto / La saluto

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    Ciao Gianluca. In che parte d'Italia si dice «Bona!»? – DaG Nov 5 '15 at 18:31
  • Rome........ Rome – Gianluca Ghettini Nov 9 '15 at 15:00
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    Oh, the city I live in when since I were born. Never heard, I must say. Or better, I hear it when one wants to pay a somewhat coarse compliment to a woman, but not as a goodbye. – DaG Nov 9 '15 at 15:10
  • Yes.. it also means "nice girl" (in a coarse way). But this is definitely Roman slang for "goodbye". – Gianluca Ghettini Nov 9 '15 at 15:14
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Goodbye comes from "God be with you" (Dominus vobiscum) and it is a close relative of Addio, Adieu (Fr. Like the "Adieu, Adieu to you and you" from the children just going to bed in "The Sound of Music"), Adios (Sp, used more often), Mandi (Friuli, from "Mane in Deo", used all the time, also to mean arrivederci, ciao, buon giorno) and (less close) to "Gruss Gott" (Austria and Bavaria, used all the time, to mean good morning, good evening, ciao).

Many years ago addio was used in Italy also when parting for a short period. It is less and less used today, but it is worth knowing that it can still be used that way.

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