How to Say Goodbye in Russian

Written on:November 14, 2012
Add One


There are quite a few ways to say goodbye in Russian. The basic one, that you will see in every textbook, is до свидания (goodbye) [dasvidania]

Извините, но мне пора идти. До свидания! – Pardon me, but it’s time for me to leave. Good bye!

It is the most universal of the Russian goodbye phrases, appropriate in formal and informal settings. It is also the blandest of all possible options. So don’t just learn how to say “dasvidania”. Let’s spice things up a bit and learn other ways of taking leave in Russian.

Sometimes you might hear a phrase давай, до свидания or ну давай, до свидания. This might be confusing since the verb давай is the imperative form of давать (to give). But in a phrase such as давай, до свидания it is used as an interjection with a meaning similar to “c’mon” or “let’s”.

Ребята, бар закрывается. Давайте, до свидания! – Guys, the bar is closing! C’mon, goodbye now!

One of the very first words Russian babies learn is пока. It’s easy to pronounce and, as an interjection, has the meaning of “bye” or “so long”. So it is pretty informal. While it’s perfectly OK for a baby to use пока or, more commonly, пока-пока (bye-bye) all the time, adults only use it with friends, family or at informal gatherings.

Мне уже пора, пока! – It’s time for be to go, bye!
Миша, скажи бабушке пока-пока – Misha, say bye-bye to Grandma

Sometimes you won’t hear either до свидания (dasvidania) or пока (paka), but instead something like this:

До скорого! – See you soon!

The full version would be до скорого свидания, but the word свидание (a meeting) is omitted. До скорого is rather informal and is used without specifying the time or location of the next meeting.

Мне пора, до скорого! – I am off. See you soon!

However, in the phrase до скорой встречи, the word встреча (a meeting) is never dropped, but the word скорая might. And then you’ll have до встречи (see you soon; until next time). If you want to specify the time or location of the next meeting, use this phrase.

Жаль, что тебе уже пора. До скорой встречи в Москве! – Too bad you must go now. See you in Moscow!

Всего хорошего (all the best) is another good phrase to use when saying goodbye in Russian. It’s closest in meaning and the level of formality to the English phrase “take care”.

You might hear Russians use various interjections before any of the above words:

Ну, пока
Давай, до скорого!
Ладно, до встречи

or even

Ну ладно, давай, всего хорошего.

It is as if Russians try to avoid прощание (saying goodbyes). Indeed, while the phrase “to say goodbye” in Russian is прощаться/проститься, Russians will avoid using the word прощай (farewell) except, maybe, in lyrics or in speeches. Consider this dialogue between two friends:

- Уже очень поздно, давай прощаться (It’s late already, let’s say our goodbyes)
- Ну, спасибо, что зашёл. До скорого! (Thanks for stopping by. See you soon!)
- Пока! (Bye!)
- Не забудь передать привет жене! (Don’t forget to send my best to your wife!)

It is considered хороший тон (common courtesy) to передавать привет (to send one’s best) to family or общие друзья (mutual friends).

Передай привет маме – Send my best to mother
Вадим передаёт всем привет – Vadim is sending his best to everyone
До скорого, передавай привет семье – See you soon, send my best to the family

You can find even more Russian words for goodbye along with pronunciation guides on our page Russian Farewells – Прощание.

Спасибо и до скорой встречи!


Image source: flickr/rpongsaj cc-by-2.0

Leave a Comment