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?

  • 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


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.


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

At least that's what Etymology Online states.

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  • @Alenanno: Wooo, bragging party! Oh, no, it's just comment pollution. Simply had to join in. – Grant Thomas Jun 9 '11 at 11:20

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