Wordplay: Goodbye

“Let’s not say goodbye,” the phrase goes, “but rather say farewell.”

Kinda stupid, actually.

I understand the intent: people use “goodbye” in a kind of final sense, as in, “well never see each other again.” But goodbye is actually a compound word, formed from good and bye. 

What’s a bye?

Football fans know. In sports generally, it means “the transfer of a competitor directly to the next round of a competition in the absence of an assigned opponent.” More colloquially, it means the team gets a break (“the Eagles have a bye week”) but still comes back.

A break. A rest. An interval. Good bye means, “be good through the interval when we won’t see each other, and we’ll see each other again afterwards.” It means nearly the exact same thing as fare well, another compound word.

Good bye. See you again in a few days.

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