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We often colloquially use the phrase so long to say goodbye. For eg. So long, we'll see you next week or He said so long and left.

What is the origin of this phase? Rather, how did it come into being? I would also like to know the circumstances under which its usage would be deemed appropriate.

EDIT: Is this phrase some sort of corruption of any phrase in some other language(looking at the answers) or it has some meaning to it in English Language as well?

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So long –  Matt Эллен Dec 5 '12 at 8:50
    
Atlease @MattЭллен's comment perfectly explains the etymology part.... –  KeyBrd Basher Dec 5 '12 at 10:55
    
@MattЭллен, and thanks for all the fish. –  Sam Dec 6 '12 at 2:55
    
I see a down vote. Would the voter atleast care to share his/her grievances?? –  KeyBrd Basher Dec 6 '12 at 5:41
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closed as general reference by Matt Эллен, tchrist, MετάEd, Mitch, Marthaª Dec 6 '12 at 15:06

This question is too basic; it can be definitively and permanently answered by a single link to a standard internet reference source designed specifically to find that type of information.If this question can be reworded to fit the rules in the help center, please edit the question.

2 Answers

The OED gives a first use in 1865. No explanation is given, but comparison is made with German so lange. It is a purely colloquial expression, and one that seems to be limited to particular idiolects. I wouldn’t use it myself. It may be more common in American than in British English.

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I note that the first citation is from The Lays and Legends of Peter Perfume – Collected, corrected, and edited [or rather, written] by F.H. Nixon was published in Melbourne, Australia by Ferdinand François Baillière in 1865. Given where it was published, and also the content of other titles by the same author, to all appearances, Francis H. Nixon was Australian. –  tchrist Dec 5 '12 at 14:52
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It certainly seems American to me. If it has a German origin, it might well have to do with migration from Germany to America in the nineteenth century.

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Barry could you please be a little more descriptive. Coz, your answer here seems more like a mere comment to me. –  KeyBrd Basher Dec 5 '12 at 12:45
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