It’s hard to say goodbye, but sometimes we might have to. How to say goodbye in Chinese? There’re so many ways for different situations. Watch this 1-minute video and learn 14 ways of how to say bye in Chinese, with full script in characters and pinyin!
How to Say Bye in Chinese – “Zaijian“?
zài jiàn – literal. again meet; again see liberal. (I’ll) see you again
If you look in a dictionary while trying to find out how to say goodbye in Chinese, you will probably get “zaijian” 再见 listed at the top in the No.1 position. Also for Chinese learners, zaijian is probably the first expression of how to say bye in Chinese you learn, whether it’s from a teacher, a friend or a book. In real life situations though, 再见 isn’t used as much as its English equivalences. It is commonly used in the following situations:
when a TV/online video host/hostess close their show, they say 再见 more frequently than other versions.
when an adult says bye to a child, they usually say 再见.
at the end of a business phone call.
in written forms such as in poetry, fictions, comic books, scripts for dramas or shows.
at the end of something you write
As listed above, 再见 is usually more for formal uses rather than casual speaking.
bāi bāi – English loanword. bye-bye
Perhaps it’s because of its super easy pronunciation. 拜拜 has actually become the favorite way of how to say bye in Chinese. It is borrowed from the English expression bye-bye, as you can tell. 拜拜 is easy and casual, and it sounds nice and friendly; appropriate for any informal or daily uses. Also you can just say a short 拜 as well, making it even easier.
How to Say Goodbye in Chinese and Set A Time to Meet Again
xià cì jiàn – literal. again meet; again see liberal. see you next time
Simple as it is. Use this one when you want to let the person know that you want to meet them again.
4. 明天见; 明儿见
míng tiān jiàn; míngr jiàn – literal. tomorrow see liberal. see you tomorrow
明天 in Chinese means “tomorrow“, but in northern provinces, you will hear the 儿化 retroflex final (nonsyllabic final r 儿 added to a word in spoken Chinese) a lot. In this case, 明天 becomes 明儿. In the video you will be able to hear the difference. Also if you want to say see you on Thursday, just replace 明天 with 星期四, and say 星期四见. And see you on the weekend would be 周末见 – replacing 明天 with 周末 zhōu mò “weekend”.
5. 下周见; 下个星期见
xiǎ zhōu jiàn; xià gè xīng qī jiàn – literal. next week see liberal. see you next week
Same as 下次见 and 明天见, you put a time word before 见 to say goodbye in Chinese and set a time to meet again.In this example, there are two ways to say “next week” , 下周 or 下个星期. 周 and 星期 means week. For 星期 you need the measure word 个, for example:
1 week = 一个星期 yí gè xīng qī
5 weeks = 五个星期 wǔ gè xīng qī
But for 周 you don’t need any measure word, for example:
1 week = 一周 yì zhōu
5 weeks = 五周 wǔ zhōu
yí huì ‘ér jiàn – literal. a short while meet; a short while see liberal. see you later; see you in a little bit
What if you’re going to see someone in just a short while, on the same day. Say 一会儿见!
7. 回头见; 回见
huí tóu jiàn; huí jiàn – literal. turn back head see; turn back see liberal. see you later
This term is very interesting, because of the vivid description of the characters. 回头 literally means “to turn back your head”, saying 回头见 is as if you’re saying “I’m going to see you again once I turn my head back”. The other version 回见 is just a shortened version, with 头 omitted. The difference between 回头见 and 一会儿见 is that 回头见 can be used in two different situations:
you’re going to meet the person again on the same day
you’re going to meet the person again soon, but not necessarily on the same day.
dào shí hòu jiàn – literal. until that time meet; until that time see liberal. see you then; see you until then
In this expression, instead of putting a time word in front of 见, you’re putting a phrase that indicates time. 到时候 means “until (that) moment” or “until (that) time”.
How to Say Bye-bye in Chinese When You Need to Leave
9. 走了啊; 我走了啊
zǒu le ‘a – literal. (I’m going to) leave liberal. I’m taking off
When it’s time for you to leave, how to say bye-bye in Chinese without being award? You can say 走了啊, with the subject 我 omitted. Or if you prefer the complete sentence, say 我走了啊. Sometimes this expression can be also followed by 再见 or 拜拜, if you’re saying “I’m taking off, bye”.
wǒ xiān gào cí le – literal. I first excuse myself liberal. I am taking my leave; I have to excuse myself now
This is a very formal way to say “I have to go now”. The word 告辞 is very respectful and it sounds very formal and serious. 告辞 gào cí means “to excuse oneself and leave”. Situations that you might find this expression useful are:
at a conference, informal meeting or gathering where you have to leave before anybody else
to a person that you absolutely want to show respect to.
wǒ děi zǒu le – literal. I have to go liberal. I have to go
Is there a situation where you suddenly realize that it’s time for you to go? Say 我得走了.
bù zǎo le, wǒ gāi zǒu le – literal. not early, I should go liberal. it’s getting late, I should leave
If it’s getting late and you have to leave, or you’re running late for something else, you can use this term. Sometimes you can also replace 不早了 with something else, such as 太晚了 tài wǎn le “it’s too late now”.
wǒ xiān zǒu le – literal. I first go liberal. I’ll have to go now
If you have to leave and other people are still hanging out or staying where they are, for example when you’re leaving someone’s place or office, you can use this expression. 先 xiān means “first; before; in advance; earlier”, indicating that you’re leaving before anybody else.
dōu shí diǎn le, wǒ dě huí qù le – literal. already 10 o’clock, I have to go back liberal. it’s 10 o’clock already, I have to go
It’s getting late at night, already 10 pm, and you’re planning on going home. Use this sentence to explain that you have to leave. 回去 huí qù means “to go back”, so it can be anywhere that you need to “go back”. If you want to be specific and say that you’re going home, you can say 回家 huí jiā “to go home”. Also, you can replace 十点 with any other hour, depending on your situation.
shī péi le – literal. to lose (my) company liberal. I’ll have to excuse myself
Personally I’ve heard this phrase more in movies than in real life, that’s why I didn’t include it in the video. This phrase is extremely formal and polite, and you most definitely only say it to a person you don’t know very well and want to show respect to.
How to Say Goodbye in Chinese Written Language
zài huì – literal. again meet; again see liberal. Iet’s meet again
再会 is similar with zajian 再见, only this one is almost never used in spoken language. 会 huì is more of an ancient classic way of saying to meet or to see, and in Chinese the more classical characters, words or expressions usually appear more in written language.
hòu huì yǒu qī – literal. later meet has date liberal. (I believe) we’ll meet again some day
后会有期 is a Chinese Idiom, or 成语 chéng yǔ, it is rarely used in spoken language, but would be a nice one to use in written form for someone that you won’t be able to see for awhile, if you want to see them again. Do you want to learn more about Chinese Idioms 成语? Vote here to let us know.