You'll never feel the same about farewells again. Bye, such a common word in our vocabulary, obviously comes from the word goodbye; it's a shortening. But goodbye itself is actually a contraction of god be with you! There are some interesting changes to note here. First, the shift from god to good. This occurred because of folk etymology. Since people were constantly saying things like good morning, good evening, and good afternoon, they assumed that another parting nicety must also start with good, and the people who spelled it godbye or godby (the previous spellings) were poor disillusioned saps. The second interesting change to note is the constant evolution of the contraction. From god be with you it became god be wi' ye, which later became god bwe ye, which later split into a mesh between godbwye and god b'w'ye (phonemic differences there), which became godby'e, which then devolved into goodbye's predecessors. Contracting further, goodbye today has extended to forms like g'bye, goodby, and just bye, proving that we're always trying to make our departures faster. Before you go, consider this: next time you say bye, you're just saying "be with you". Bye now!
Adam Aleksic is a 220-month-old, 2800-ounce high school senior with disturbing interests in etymology, vexillology, geography, board games, limericks, and law. Adam will be studying linguistics at Harvard University in the fall.
The Etymology Nerd