We have, for example, phrases like, “When I was greeting …” in which greeting is essentially shorthand for “saying ‘Hello’ to someone” derived from a related verb (to greet).

However, to my knowledge, English does not have a term for “saying ‘Goodbye’ to someone” despite all the related verbs (farewell, goodbye, etc.).

Are there any words which come close to fulfilling such a role? If not, is it due to an absence of such phrases in English's primary language influences (Germanic and Anglo-Francophone), or was it a phrase that existed in those contributing languages but failed to persist in Modern English?


Leavetaking (or leave-taking) is “The process of saying goodbye”. Wiktionary gives the following example:

The formal leave-taking ceremony of a diplomat can take all day [...]

According to google ngrams, recent usage of leave-taking has been about four times as frequent as that of leavetaking, with usage of the latter being five to ten times as high as that of farewelling.


Um, the single word for "say farewell" is farewell. This is English. You can use any word at all as a verb.

  • Wiktionary:

    farewell (third-person singular simple present farewells, present participle farewelling, simple past and past participle farewelled)

    1. To bid farewell or say goodbye

      • 2009 February 9, Neil Wilson and staff writers, “Tributes for newsman Brian Naylor and wife, killed in fires”, Herald Sun:
        He farewelled viewers with a warm sign-off after each bulletin: "May your news be good news, and goodnight."
  • Merriam-Webster:

    transitive verb
    chiefly Australian & New Zealand

    : to bid farewell to
    The retiring teacher was farewelled by the whole school at a special assembly.
    First known use: 1580

  • What a lot of things you use 'Farewell' for. – Edwin Ashworth Jun 2 '14 at 21:53
  • 3
    @EdwinAshworth Yes, Gandalf. And good morning. – tchrist Jun 2 '14 at 22:08
  • 1
    Explains why it's chiefly NZ. – Edwin Ashworth Jun 2 '14 at 22:21

Not in particularly common use, but there is a present participle of farewell: "farewelling".

See, for example, "Farewelling troops at Lyttelton, 1940".


Since the headline formulation of the question asks for the single-word equivalent of a gerund phrase, I will venture a noun: valediction. Per OED the verb form valedict is “rare.”

  • Ideally, the solution would also be a gerund. – HalosGhost Jun 2 '14 at 20:31
  • 1
    @HalosGhost Does the verb valedict not fulfill that criterion? Nevertheless, I am unsure of whether the verb is transitive or in-. You can greet someone, but can you valedict him? Perhaps Brian can answer that quandary. – Anonym Jun 2 '14 at 20:37
  • @Anonym, perhaps it is due to the rarity of the phrase, but I have never heard valedicting used before. I would also like to see if Brian can elaborate further. – HalosGhost Jun 2 '14 at 20:39
  • OED says intr.; sole example is itself a definition. And I should think valediction itself would serve all the functions of the gerund valedicting, though not of the present participle. – Brian Donovan Jun 2 '14 at 20:41

"Goodbyes" is a single word noun that can be used as you want. So is Farewells

I said my goodbyes to my school friends at graduation.

  • 1
    Can you "good-bye" your friends? That doesn't sound right to me. – Casey Jun 3 '14 at 13:25

Parting(s/words) work here.

done or said by someone when they are leaving

And adieu is understood but is similar to saying your goodbyes.

a farewell remark

I bid adieu to all of my friends before leaving.

Say your adieus before leaving the function.


As I commented, "seeing off" is another example in fairly common modern usage, and in a similar manner to your use of the word 'greeting'.

It also allows a range of tenses in the normal conjugation of 'to see':

"I saw them off as they left for their holiday"

"Before seeing them off, I gave their daughter a gift for her upcoming birthday"

"Roger will see you off"

And many others. As you can see these are readily replaced by "greet", "greeting", and "greeted".


Dismiss and usher out come close to fulfilling that role.

dismiss: to direct or allow to leave

usher out: end one's encounter with someone by causing or permitting the person to leave

Alternately, salute can also be used as an expression of farewell.

salute: to greet or address with an expression of welcome, goodwill, or respect

He saluted me and left.

  • Dismiss is close, in that it signals a closing statement, but it focuses on having the recipient of the statement leave. On the other hand, if someone were to use the term I am looking for, it would not necessarily place such emphasis. If any implication were to be made, it would be that the subject is dismissing one's self. If that is helpful and necessary information, I would gladly add it to the OP. Else, your current offerings are a step forward, but not quite solutions. – HalosGhost Jun 2 '14 at 20:13

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

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