Take the 2-minute tour ×
English Language & Usage Stack Exchange is a question and answer site for linguists, etymologists, and serious English language enthusiasts. It's 100% free, no registration required.

If "ta" means "thank-you", how did "ta-ta" come to mean "goodbye?" Isn't it basically repeating "ta?", in which case, wouldn't it mean "thanks, thanks!"?

Is there a reason why? Does it lie in their etymologies?

share|improve this question
    
possible duplicate of Where does "ta!" come from? –  Robusto Jun 9 '11 at 11:19
    
In the US (perhaps elsewhere) "ta-tas" is a slang term for breasts - "Check out the bodacious ta-tas on that girl!" It's not very likely to lead to confusion with "ta ta" for "goodbye" - unless you're dealing with a teenager, in which case "ta ta!" is likely to set off a fit of giggling. –  MT_Head Jun 10 '11 at 6:00

1 Answer 1

up vote 2 down vote accepted

tata

also ta-ta, "good-bye," 1823, a word first recorded as infant's speech. Abbreviation T.T.F.N., "ta-ta for now," popularized 1941 by BBC radio program "ITMA," where it was the characteristic parting of the cockney cleaning woman character Mrs. Mopp, voiced by Dorothy Summers.

ta

1772, "natural infantile sound of gratitude" [Weekley].

At least that's what Etymology Online states.

share|improve this answer
    
@Alenanno: Wooo, bragging party! Oh, no, it's just comment pollution. Simply had to join in. –  Grant Thomas Jun 9 '11 at 11:20
    
Let's rock! By the way, thanks @Alenanno :) –  Philoto Jun 9 '11 at 11:22

protected by RegDwigнt Apr 17 '13 at 8:44

Thank you for your interest in this question. Because it has attracted low-quality answers, posting an answer now requires 10 reputation on this site.

Would you like to answer one of these unanswered questions instead?

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.