Word of the Day – Thursday, June 14th



Word of the Day


Clever Clue of the Month

The Cruciverbalist


Daily Email

CIAO (chow)

Used to express greeting or farewell
Common clues: “Later!”; “See ya!”; “Ta-ta!”; “Bye”; "So long"; Italian farewell; Informal goodbye; “Arrivederci”
Crossword puzzle frequency: 4 times a year
Frequency in English language: 48263 / 86800
Ciao Italy

The word ciao (pronounced somewhat like chow, and occasionally misspelled as such) is an informal verbal salutation or greeting, meaning "goodbye" or (more rarely) "hello".

Originally from the Venetian language, it was adopted by Italian and eventually entered the vocabulary of English and of many other languages around the world. Presently, the word is mostly used as "goodbye" in English, but in other languages it may mean "hello", "goodbye", or both.

Rick and Ilsa say goodbye

The word, like its standard Italian cognate schiavo, literally means "slave," in the sense of "I am your slave." This greeting is analogous to the Latin Servus which is still current in Hungary, Austria, and Bavaria.

The word s-ciào is still used in Venetian as an exclamation of resignation in unavoidable situations.

The Venetian greeting, shortened to ciào, soon lost all its servile connotations, and came to be used as an informal salutation by speakers of all classes. It was adopted by the Italian language, with the spelling ciao, presumably during the golden days of the Venetian Republic. It has since spread to many countries in Europe, along with other items of the Italian culture. In the late 19th and early 20th century, the salute spread to the Americas—especially Chile, Brazil, and Argentina—largely by way of Italian immigrants. Ernest Hemingway is credited with bringing the word into the English language.

This article is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses material from the Wikipedia article "Ciao".