This list will include seven of the most common ways you can say goodbye in Arabic. Parting ways in the Arabic-speaking world can be a lengthy process of sharing well-wishes and future intentions, but have no fear — we’re here to help! The first five are drawn from the Levantine dialect, which is primarily spoken in Syria, Lebanon, Jordan, and Palestine, but is widely understood throughout the Arab world. The last two, more formal goodbyes come from Modern Standard Arabic, which is used everywhere. You’re sure to find something for any situation, regardless of whom you’re parting with!
1. Bkhatirkon (بخاطركُن)
This word is the closest term for “goodbye” in the Levantine dialect, though it literally means something like “by your permission/mind.” (Think of the old-fashioned “by your leave” in English!) Note that the ending -kon here implies that you’re speaking to more than one person; you’ll use bkhatrak and bkhatrik for speaking to an individual man or woman, respectively. This word can be used in most contexts, as it is friendly but still polite!
2. Ma’ssalaame (مع السلامة)
This is the most popular way to say goodbye, meaning “with safety.” What not everyone knows, however, is that this is typically used as a reply to another farewell said by the person who is leaving. It doesn’t make a lot of sense to say it if you’re the one leaving, because why would you tell those who are staying behind to go “with safety”? Nonetheless, it’s common enough that it’s good to have it in your back pocket.
3. Bil izn (بالإذن)
Similar to bkhatirkon, this literally means “by permission” and is a nice way of exiting a meeting or social situation, even if you’re just popping out for a second. Asking permission of the other person or people before leaving is a gesture of respect and courtesy.
4. Mnshoufkon bi kheir (منشوفكن بخير)
If you want to play it cool and be casual, you can use this phrase, which means “see you [plural] in good [shape].” Or perhaps just “see you” with just the first word (mnshoufkon). This is useful with friends and in other informal settings. Again, note that the form shown here with -kon is for speaking to a group, and the prefix mn- means that you’re also speaking for a group! So think of this phrase as conveying the same information as “We’ll be seeing you all!” If you want to speak as “I” instead of “we,” substitute b- for mn-, and change -kon to -ak or -ik to speak to an individual man or woman. So bshoufik بشوفك (“I’ll be seeing you [feminine]”) and bshoufak بشوفك (“I’ll be seeing you [masculine].”)
5. Diiro belkon a’a halkon (ديرو بالكن ع حالكن)
This phrase is a nice way to tell your friends “take care of yourself.” You can also use it as a warning, if you want to sound dramatic! Diir belak a’a halak دير بالك ع حالك is the masculine singular form of this one, while diiri belik a’a halik ديري بالك ع حالك is the feminine singular.
6. Illa liqaa (إلى اللقاء)
Finally, the formal goodbyes. Though not common in daily conversation, these last two are helpful to know if you wish to become more actively engaged in the Arabic-speaking world. This expression literally means “until the meeting” (so, similar to the English “until we meet again”), and thus it implies that you expect to be seeing the other person again soon!
7. Wada’an (وداعًا)
In contrast to illa liqaa, this formal farewell implies that you don’t really expect to see the person again, a bit like the French adieu, so be careful whom you use it with!
That’s it! Hopefully now you feel a bit more confident and ready to close out a variety of social interactions in Arabic without sounding too repetitive. But of course, there’s much more to learning a language than memorizing phrases. If you’re looking for more in-depth instruction, or you’d just like a chance to practice these expressions with someone sure to be sympathetic before you take them on the road, sign up for NaTakallam sessions with one of our native Arabic language partners, today!