Farewells

Several words and phrases can be used to say farewell or to bring a conversation to a close, either gently or abruptly. Most are no longer used (good night is the chief exception), or are used only in certain contexts (e.g. ‘make my farewells’). Modern English goodbye is also present, in a variety of spellings; its modern form is an early 19th-century development.

A simple farewell

Keyword Location Example
adieu Ham I.v.91 Adieu, adieu, adieu
fare 2H4 III.ii.289 Fare you well, gentle gentlemen [also: thee, ye]
farewell Ham II.i.74 Farewell
God bye [= God be with you] 1H6 III.ii.73 God bye, my lord
God bye [= God be with you] Ham II.i.69 God bye ye
God bye [= God be with you] Ham II.ii.546 God bye to you
God bye [= God be with you] AYL III.ii.250 God buy you
God bye [= God be with you] Oth I.iii.187 God bu’y! I have done

A farewell with time of day

Keyword Location Example
even Cor II.i.88 Good e’en to your worships
morrow KL II.ii.156 Give you good morrow!
night Ham III.iv.218 Good night, mother
night Ham I.i.16 Give you good night

A farewell with kind regards

Keyword Location Example
commend Ham V.ii.178 I commend my duty to your lordship
commend Ham I.v.183 I do commend me to you
commend CE I.ii.32 I commend you to your own content [i.e. wish you all you wish yourself]
commend RJ II.iv.208 Commend me to thy lady

A farewell with concern for well-being

Keyword Location Example
keep 2H4 III.ii.288 God keep you!
merry RJ I.ii.80 Rest you merry
save Ham II.ii.221 God save you, sir!

A dismissal

Keyword Location Example
drink R3 III.ii.105 There, drink that for me [thanking a messenger]
even RJ III.v.172 O, God-i-good-e'en!
leave TN II.iv.71 Give me now leave, to leave thee [very courteous dismissal]
way, ways TNK III.v.59 Go thy ways [i.e. on your way]
way, ways TN III.i.131 There lies your way

There is some overlap with expressions used in greeting: GREETINGS

SHAKESPEARE'S WORDS © 2018 DAVID CRYSTAL & BEN CRYSTAL