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Hello and goodbye are two of the most important words to learn in a language. That’s because they can be used in almost every conversation you’ll have when communicating in a language.
So, how to say good bye in Arabic?
In this article, I’ll show you the most common ways to say goodbye in Arabic in any situation. I’ll also share with you some interesting facts on greetings in Middle Eastern culture.
Goodbye in Arabic
What’s special about saying bye in Arabic is that there are typically some more words involved when compared to English. It’s basically a cultural thing, which plays a huge role when learning a new language.
In many Western countries, you could simply say “Bye” or “See ya” – and leave. Well, not so much in the Middle East. It’s much more common to add more words, even if you’re just going to say goodbye to your friend who you’re going to text the same night anyway. We’re not even talking about a formal farewell here.
That said, be sure to read through the full list of ways to say bye in Arabic. You can perfectly combine them to make sure you say goodbye the authentic way.
1. Ma’a salama
An easy and universal way to say good bye in Arabic is ma’a salama (مع السلامة). Ma’a salama literally translates to “with peace”, but is used the same way as good bye in English.
It can be said in any context and occasion, whether you’re speaking to your colleague on the phone or leaving a shop. Unlike certain other Arabic expressions, ma’a salama is used and understood across various Arabic dialects. That’s especially true for Levantine Arabic (Lebanese, Syrian, Jordanian…), Egyptian Arabic and Modern Standard Arabic (MSA)
2. Ya’tik al’afiya
If you’re looking for a very common expression in Levantine Arabic, you have to learn ya’tik al’afiya. It’s a very popular, respectful and authentic way to say bye in Arabic.
Ya’tik al’afiya literally means “may God give you good health”. This expression is meant to show respect and appreciation to someone’s labor. That’s why it’s commonly said to people who are working, be it a shop or a taxi.
Unlike ma’a salama (which can be said to any gender), there’s a small but audible grammatical difference when speaking to a man, a woman or a group.
- Ya’tik al’afiya (يعطيك العافية) is used when speaking to a man
- Ya’atiki al’afiya (يعطيكِ العافية) is used when speaking to a woman
- Ya’atikun al’afiya (يعطيكن العافية) is used when speaking to a group of people (regardless of their gender)
While ya’tik al’afiya is a very popular and respectful expression in Levantine Arabic, it’s not used in Moroccan dialect (darija), where ‘afiya means fire.
Another great expression in colloquial Arabic is bshoofak (بشوفك). It’s the equivalent of see you in English. Use bshoofak when talking to a man, and bshoofek when talking to a woman.
In Arabic, you’ll mostly use bshoofak when talking to friends, family or colleagues. It’s much less common when talking to strangers.
You can use this expression on its own, without specifying when you’ll see the other person again. However, you can be a bit more specific by saying:
- Bshoofak bukra = see you tomorrow
- Bshoofak ba’adan = see you soon
Many native speakers, especially Muslims, will add inshallah here: bshoofak bukra inshallah. Inshallah is a common Islamic expression that is used when talking about future events. It basically means “God willing”. While it’s originally Islamic, it has become an integral part of Arabic language, so you can perfectly use it regardless of your religion.
4. Youm said
Would you like to wish someone a good day in Arabic? A great way to add some more personality to your goodbye is by wishing the other person a good day.
In Arabic, have a good day means youm sa’id (يوم سعيد). It’s yet another universal Arabic expression that can be said on any occasion (from family to strangers). It goes for both genders. Youm sa’id is used and understood across most Arabic countries, from Morocco, Jordan, Lebanon to UAE.
5. Tusbih ala khair
Are you leaving someone’s home or ending a conversation with someone in the late evening? Then you might as well want to wish them a good night.
Good night in Levantine Arabic means tusbih ala khair (تصبح على خير). The literal meaning of this expression is may you awake to goodness. Tusbih ala khair is used when speaking to a man. When addressing a female, you’ll change the grammar to tusbihi ala khair (تصبحي على خير).
A common response to tusbih ala khair is wa enta min ahlihi ( وأنت من اهله) when speaking to a man, or wa enti min ahlihi ( وأنت من اهله) when speaking to a woman.
Same as in English, this expression isn’t necessarily used when someone goes to bed, but rather to say good bye in Arabic in the (late) evening hours.
By the way, you might have heard about layla saida as good night in Arabic. And you’re right about that. Layla saida is used in Modern Standard Arabic (MSA) which is the written form of Arabic. Most dialects have a different expression in daily conversations. Feel free to check out my full article on Arabic dialects to learn about the regional differences.
The first five expressions for good bye in Arabic are used when saying bye on a day to day basis.
Would you like to say goodbye to someone who’s leaving for good? Like a colleague who’s leaving the company or a friend who’s leaving to study abroad?
Wadaa’an (وداعاً) is the perfect Arabic expression which can be used for farewells.
That said, you won’t use wadaa’an when you’re going to see the other person the next day, but rather when that person is leaving.
7. Illa al liqa
Last but not least, I’d like to introduce you to one translation to good bye in Arabic that you’ll find in most textbooks: Illa al liqa (إلي اللقاء).
Illa al liqa (also spelled illa liqaa) is the formal way, commonly used in Modern Standard Arabic (MSA). However, it’s rarely used in day-to-day language (among friends or family). Illa al liqa literally translates to “until the next time”. It’s basically the formal equivalent to bshoofak (see you).
You’re likely to hear illa al liqa on television, at the end of a program. In Arabic culture, it’s common for TV presenters to say good bye to their audience, instead of abruptly ending a show as it’s the case in some other countries.
Expressions at a Glance
Below is a summary of the expressions used in this article and their English equivalent. The Latin script can help you with the correct pronunciation if you can’t read Arabic. Learning the Arabic alphabet will greatly help you with the correct pronunciation of Arabic words.
|English Equivalent||Arabic (Latin Script)||Arabic (Arabic Script)|
|Good bye (universal)||ma’a salama||مع السلامة|
|Good bye (may God give you good health) (to a man)||ya’tik al’afiya||يعطيك العافية|
|Good bye (may God give you good health) (to a woman)||ya’tiki al’afiya||يعطيكِ العافية|
|Good bye (may God give you good health) (to a group)||ya’atikun al’afiya||يعطيكن العافية|
|See you (to a man)||bshoufak||بشوفك|
|See you (to a woman)||bshoufek||بشوفك|
|Have a good day (universal)||youm said||يوم سعيد|
|Good night (to a man)||tusbih ala khair||تصبح على خير|
|Good night (to a woman)||tusbihi ala khair||تصبحي على خير|
|Response to good night (to a man)||wa enta min ahlihi||وأنت من اهله|
|Response to good night (to a woman)||wa enti min ahlihi||وأنت من اهله|
|Good bye (formal, MSA)||illa al liqa||إلي اللقاء|
Learn Arabic with Me!
Looking for more expressions in Arabic, or are you interested in Arab culture? You’ve come to the right place! This blog is about all things Middle Eastern. You’ll find plenty of useful articles here to immerse yourself in the Arabic language, culture and cuisine.
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