One of the first things you learn in Chinese is to say hello. But do you also know how to say goodbye in Mandarin? Knowing how to say goodbye is just as important as knowing how to say hello, yes, no and thank you in Chinese. In fact, knowing how to take leave from someone is part of the basic Chinese you need to master. So, let’s look at 10 frequently used and useful ways to say goodbye in Mandarin!
How do you say goodbye in Mandarin?
Today, we’re going to see 10 different ways to say “goodbye “in Mandarin. All these expressions you’ll discover here are very common and interesting to know. They each come with a little explanation so you can be sure you’re using the right goodbye in Chinese each time!
Goodbye; See you
再见 is the most common and standard way to say goodbye in Mandarin. You can use this expression with everybody and in all sorts of situations. 再见 literally means “See you again”, as it’s composed of the character 再 zài, which means “again” and of the character见 jiàn “to see”. That being said, you can still use 再见 if you’re not planning on seeing the person ever again.
The most frequent and easy way to say goodbye in Mandarin is going to sound very familiar to you: it’s 拜拜, which means “bye bye” and is pronounced just like in English! It’s casual and informal, but don’t worry, almost all the people use it in China now. 拜拜 was first used in Taiwan, but you’ll hear it used everywhere that speaks Chinese now.
As the word 八 (8), pronounced bā sounds close to “bye”, you’ll sometimes see 拜拜 written as 88 online. So if someone writes 88 to you, you know now what they mean!
See you soon: Using 见 to say goodbye in Chinese
The following ways to say goodbye all have something in common: they all use 见! As you saw before, 见 means “to see”. It’s therefore not surprising that it’s used a lot in expressions to say goodbye, especially when you plan on seeing the person you’re saying goodbye to again.
yī huǐ er jiàn
see you later/in a while
huí tóu jiàn
see you later
When you want to say “see you later”, two expressions you can use are:
- 一会儿见. Here, 一会儿 yīhuǐ er means “a little while”, so 一会儿见 very simply means “see you in a little while”.
- or 回头见. 回头 literally means “to turn one’s head around” and figurately means “later” so, combined with 见, 回头见 means “see you later”.
míng tiān jiàn
see you tomorrow
When the day is over and you want to say “see you tomorrow” to your classmate or colleague, you can say 明天见！This expression is very easy to use in Chinese, and good to know when you want to say goodbye to someone till a specific date.
zhōu yī jiàn
see you on Monday
To say to someone “see you” at a specific date, all you need to do is follow this pattern:
[Specific Date] + 见
For example: If you put the date 周一 in front on 见, you get: 周一见 – See you on Monday, since 周一 is Monday.
zài lián xi
Let's catch up later/ let's stay in touch
When a conversation is suddenly broken up but you want to show you’ll stay in contact with someone, you can say 再联系. This indicates to the other person you desire to catch up with them later, and shows you want to stay in touch. The expression is made up of the words:
- 再, which you saw above, and means “again
联系 – lián xi – means “contact, relation, in touch with”.
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shī péi le
Excuse me, I must leave
失陪了 is a very polite and formal way to say goodbye. It carries the meaning of “Excuse me, I must leave”. When you’re at a meeting or a party and you have to leave early, use 失陪了 to take your leave. It shows you have good manners in Chinese.
wǒ xiān gào cí
(Pardon me), I'll take my leave
Way #7 to say goodbye in Mandarin is a standard and very polite way to say goodbye. 我先告辞了 means: ” I’ll take my leave”, and nearly implies a “pardon me”. This expression is rather serious and mainly used in special situations. You normally use this expression in face-to-face conversations, especially when talking to someone with a higher social position or that is older in age than you, to show your respect. This expression was a lot more prevalent in the past, and was quite serious. Now, if you hear teenagers say that, they most likely are using this expression in a lighter and more casual manner.
Let’s break down the words in this expression:
我 wǒ – I, me, my
先 xiān – first. In Chinese, it’s very common to say “I’m leaving/going first” as a way to take your leave. Just a little something to keep in mind.
- 告辞 gào cí – “to take leave (of one’s host).
In short, this expression literally means “I’ll take leave first”. If you’re looking for a simpler way to show you want to take leave of your host, you can also say 我先走了 wǒ xiān zǒu le – I’m going first.
hòu huì yǒu qī
You may have heard 后会有期 before. This way to say goodbye is often used in movies, as it’s a little more dramatic than a simple “goodbye”. It means “farewell” or “we’ll meet again someday”. As you can guess, this is an expression to use in Chinese when two people know they won’t meet again easily once they part. You can also use this expression when you don’t know for sure when you’ll meet that person again.
保重 means to take care. This is a great expression to use when someone is going away on a long journey or leaving far. To show you want to send them off well, you can say 保重 together with 一路顺风 yī lù shùn fēng “May the wind be with you”! With these two expressions, you’re wishing them a pleasant journey! What a nice way to say goodbye in Mandarin, don’t you think?
A less formal way to say to someone you want them to take care is 慢走 Mànzǒu Take care!. 慢走 literally means”to walk slowly”, and is used by hosts when guests are saying goodbye. Its a very Chinese way of seeing someone off.
guà le a
I’m going to hang up
Since you already know how to start a phone conversation by saying 喂? wéi? Hello?, don’t you want to know also how to end a phone call? Ending a phone call in Chinese can be tricky, but here’s a simple way to end your conversation: 挂了啊 guà le a, I’m going to hang up. Here 啊a is only a particle word that adds a little emotion to what you’re saying. You can also shorten it to 挂了guà le.
Now that you know 10 different ways to say goodbye in Mandarin, you’re ready to end any conversation that ends your way! Isn’t that neat? All’s left is to learn how to say hello, and a few things to say in between, and you’re ready to chat away in Chinese. Practice each time you have to bid adieu to your friends! Do you use other expressions to say goodbye in Chinese? Share them with us below!
The Nincha Team