From Middle English farewel, from fare wel!, an imperative expression, possibly further derived from Old English *far 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 *far wela.
- (Received Pronunciation) IPA(key): /fɛəˈwɛl/
- (General American) IPA(key): /fɛɹˈwɛl/
- Rhymes: -ɛl
- Hyphenation: fare‧well
Audio (US) (file)
farewell (plural farewells)
- A wish of happiness or safety at parting, especially a permanent departure
- 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.
- A departure; the act of leaving
- c. 1591–1592, William Shakespeare, “The Third Part of Henry the Sixt, […]”, in Mr. William Shakespeares Comedies, Histories, & Tragedies: Published According to the True Originall Copies (First Folio), London: Printed by Isaac Iaggard, and Ed[ward] Blount, published 1623, OCLC 606515358, [Act II, scene i]:
- See how the morning opes her golden gates, And takes her farewell of the glorious sun.
- (Can we date this quote by Joseph Addison and provide title, author's full name, and other details?)
- Before I take my farewell of the subject.
farewell (not comparable)
- Parting, valedictory, final.
- a farewell discourse; the band's farewell tour
- 1908, W[illiam] B[lair] M[orton] Ferguson, chapter I, in Zollenstein, New York, N.Y.: D. Appleton & Company, OCLC 731476803:
- “I'm through with all pawn-games,” I laughed. “Come, let us have a game of lansquenet. Either I will take a farewell fall out of you or you will have your sevenfold revenge”.
- 1858, John Saunders, Westland Marston, The National Magazine (volume 3, page 133)
- But with the first gray light of dawn he arose; and before drawing the white sheet veilingly over, he took a last farewell look at that angel face.
- He said "Farewell!" and left.
- 1667, John Milton, “Book 4”, in Paradise Lost. A Poem Written in Ten Books, London: Printed [by Samuel Simmons], and are to be sold by Peter Parker […] [a]nd by Robert Boulter […] [a]nd Matthias Walker, […], OCLC 228722708; republished as Paradise Lost in Ten Books: The Text Exactly Reproduced from the First Edition of 1667: […], London: Basil Montagu Pickering […], 1873, OCLC 230729554:
- 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."