One of the most popular words in the English language, it’s said daily without so much as a second thought. Despite how common the farewell greeting is, however, few are aware that “goodbye” actually finds its origin in a simple parting prayer.

How can every goodbye “begin” with God? Unknown to most, the word’s history begins in the 1400s when a rather popular parting prayer first appeared in Middle English: “God be with you.” Over a period of about three hundred years, a series of contractions gradually shortened the phrase until we arrived with our Modern English version of goodbye.

Gid be with you (1400-1499)
God be with you (1500-1700)
God-buy (1651-1675)
God by ye (1651-1675)
God bi wi’you (1651-1675)
God b’w’y’ (1676-1700)
Godbuy (1676-1700)

The first recorded use of goodbye comes in a letter written by Gabriel Harvey the year 1573.

“To requite your gallonde [gallon] of godbwyes, I regive you a pottle of howdyes.”

In 1659, Samuel Pepys wrote a letter in which he still used the phrase with God.

“But mum for that, his strength will scarce supply His Back to the Balcona, so God b’wy.”

However, by the year 1694 the phrase transitioned to use good instead with an example found in the writings of English poet John Cleveland.

“He flings up his tail..and so bids us good-b’wy.”

How did the phrase eventually come to include “good” instead of God? Over time, the original meaning of goodbye was gradually lost and easily influenced by the phrases “good night” and “good day.” This lead to God being substituted with “good.” So remember every time you say goodbye, the origin of the word is actually a blessing!

Get our inspiring content delivered to your inbox every morning - FREE!


  1. On this subject, I completed an essay recently for which I obtained an exceptional mark. To guarantee that my work was flawless, I enlisted the help of a writing service, which proved to be beneficial. Because of a review on BestWritersOnline , I learned about the Trustmypaper website and decided to contact them personally. An amazing student paper was written for me by academic authors, and the paper obtained great scores from my teacher.

  2. The strange, new world of social media has turned our lives into a constant stream of goodbyes and see you later. It’s no wonder, then, that when we say goodbye to someone we care about, the first thing we think about is God. Try this lavish dermal therapist for best ideas. We pray for them and hope for their safety on their journey ahead. He understands that when we begin a new day we are saying goodbye to yesterday and hello to tomorrow.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here