From Middle English farewel, from fare wel!, an imperative expression, possibly further derived from Old English *fær wel!, equivalent to fare (“to fare, travel, journey”) + well. Compare Scots farewele, fairweill (“farewell”), Saterland Frisian Foarwäil (“farewell”), West Frisian farwol (“farewell”), Dutch vaarwel (“farewell (sadly)”), Danish farvel (“farewell”), Norwegian farvel (“farewell”), Swedish farväl (“farewell”), Faroese farvæl (“goodbye”), Icelandic far vel (“farewell”). The extensive list of cognates suggests a postulated ultimate Proto-Germanic phrase of origin, possibly something akin to *farą wela.
- (General American) IPA(key): /fɛɹˈwɛl/
- (Received Pronunciation) IPA(key): /fɛəˈwɛl/
- Rhymes: -ɛl
- Hyphenation: fare‧well
Audio (US) (file)
farewell (plural farewells)
- A wish of happiness or welfare at parting, especially a permanent departure; the parting compliment; a goodbye; adieu.
1922, Ben Travers, chapter 5, in A Cuckoo in the Nest:
- The departure was not unduly prolonged. […] Within the door Mrs. Spoker hastily imparted to Mrs. Love a few final sentiments on the subject of Divine Intention in the disposition of buckets; farewells and last commiserations; a deep, guttural instigation to the horse; and the wheels of the waggonette crunched heavily away into obscurity.
- An act of departure; leave-taking; a last look at, or reference to something.
farewell (not comparable)
- Parting, valedictory, final.
a farewell discourse; the band's farewell tour
- He said "Farewell!" and left.
- So farewell hope, and with hope, farewell fear.
1786 July 31, Robert Burns, “On a Scotch Bard Gone to the West Indies”, in Poems, Chiefly in the Scottish Dialect, Kilmarnock, East Ayrshire: Printed by John Wilson, OCLC 922031953; reprinted Kilmarnock: James McKie, March 1867, OCLC 367976637, page 184:
- Fareweel, my rhyme-compoſing billie! / Your native ſoil was right ill-willie; / But may ye flouriſh like a lily, / Now bonilie! / I'll toaſt ye in my hindmoſt gillie, / Tho' owre the Sea!
- To bid farewell or say goodbye.
2009 February 9, Neil Wilson and staff writers, “Tributes for newsman Brian Naylor and wife, killed in fires”, in Herald Sun:
- He farewelled viewers with a warm sign-off after each bulletin: "May your news be good news, and goodnight."