Posts tagged ‘godbwyes’

Goodbye means “God Be With Ye”

By Chad Upton | Editor

Many words we use today are twisted versions of words used long ago. In fact, we can often watch words get twisted in our own lifetime. Technology is having a huge impact on the way we use language and will shape words we know into words that we don’t recognize. Thanks to technology, this transformation will be visible for future generations to study.

Thanks to the written word, we can study the evolution of the words we know as normal. Goodbye is a very common word, but it’s actually a contraction — it was a whole sentence 500 years ago. The first written usage of goodbye is from a 1573 letter written Gabriel Harvey. “To requite your [gallon] of godbwyes, I regive you a pottle of howdyes.”

Today, saying “bye” has the same basic meaning as “goodbye” since we’ve completely lost the original meaning of the phrase. Really, we’re just saying “be with ye” which doesn’t really make any sense. Etymologists believe a similar situation lead to “good” replacing “god” in that phrase too, people lost the sense of where the phrase came from and what its original meaning was so there was nothing to shape the way it was said.

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photo: knegtel (cc)

sources: TheFreeDictionary.com, Dictionary.com, Etymonline.com

February 1, 2012 at 2:00 am 7 comments


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