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Old June 27, 2011, 08:16 PM
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Adiós or Chau?

Everyone knows that "adiós" means "goodbye", but I also found the word "chau" that apparently is an informal alternative for saying "adiós". I've never heard this as a way of saying "goodbye" in Spanish before. My question is, which one is more commonly used? And where in the world is the word "chau" used?

One more thing, I've seen "chau" spelled as "chao". Which spelling is correct?
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Old June 27, 2011, 08:48 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Christoferus View Post
Everyone knows that "adiós" means "goodbye", but I also found the word "chau" that apparently is an informal alternative for saying "adiós". I've never heard this as a way of saying "goodbye" in Spanish before. My question is, which one is more commonly used? And where in the world is the word "chau" used?

One more thing, I've seen "chau" spelled as "chao". Which spelling is correct?
It comes from the Italian wordciao which is used as a greeting as well as
a good-by. The Spanish version is chao, and it is different from its Italian
cognate in that it means good-by only. Ciao in English is used too, and, like the Spanish version, it means good-by.
Chao may be understood throughout the Spanish-speaking world, but people in some countries like Argentina and Colombia use it more frequently. Sometimes the use of chao may help you hone in on where the speaker comes from. For example, someone from Cartagena may sound Cuban to a less-trained ear, but if they say chao it may rule out that they are Cuban or Dominican, and assume they are Colombian.
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Old June 27, 2011, 08:48 PM
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The word "chau" or "chao" is fairly common everywhere. Both spellings are listed by the RAE in its on-line edition, which indicates that "chau" is the preferred spelling in Argentina, Bolivia, Peru and Uruguay, and that "chao" is the more common spelling everywhere else. It is borrowed from the Italian word "ciao".
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Old June 27, 2011, 08:57 PM
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Thanks, poli and wrholt. I'm going to be in Mexico in a couple of years. Should I use "chao" at all while I'm there? Are there different regions of Mexico that use or don't use that word?
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Old June 27, 2011, 09:14 PM
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Originally Posted by Christoferus View Post
Thanks, poli and wrholt. I'm going to be in Mexico in a couple of years. Should I use "chao" at all while I'm there? Are there different regions of Mexico that use or don't use that word?
I suggest listening to what the people you meet choose to say on taking their leave, and imitating them. There won't be just one expression for saying good-bye, just as in English.

I regularly use "good-bye", "see you later/tomorrow/next week", "later", "so long", "good evening/night", and so on. There is a similar variety of ways to take one's leave in Spanish, and "chao/chau" is one more member of the club.
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Old June 27, 2011, 09:18 PM
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Ok, so it's like saying "qué pasa" instead of "qué tal" or "qué hay". Makes sense.
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Old June 28, 2011, 06:31 AM
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I haven't heard chao used in Mexico, but I'm pretty most people will understand it anyway. Qué pasa usually means
what's happening. So if a father sees his two children fighting he may say: ¿Qué pasa?
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Last edited by poli; June 28, 2011 at 06:34 AM.
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Old June 28, 2011, 07:27 AM
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"Adiós", "hasta luego", "hasta pronto", are some formal ways to say goodbye.

"Chau", "chao", "bye", "nos vemos", are some more informal ways to say the same.

In Mexico, people tend to use "bye" most of the time.

A common way to say goodbye here is "Cuídate, bye" (Take care of yourself, bye).



To say hello, we never say "¿qué pasa?", but "¿qué pasó?" (pretty much like "what's up?")
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