Au revoir Meaning and 3 Useful Alternatives

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The French language has a variety of expressions to say goodbye such as au revoir, salut and adieu. In this article we’ll look at the meaning of au revoir and its use. We’ll teach you the difference between au revoir and adieu, give you options for how to respond to au revoir, as well as share alternatives that will make you sound like a native speaker.

Meaning of Au revoir in French

au revoir meaning

au revoir : goodbye

Au revoir is one of the most frequently used ways of saying “goodbye” in French. Although its general meaning is “goodbye”, au revoir in English literally translates to “until we see each other again”. The verb voir means “to see”, revoir means “to see one another again”.

Difference Between Au Revoir and Adieu

While au revoir is used when you expect to see someone again soon, adieu is used for definite farewells, when you don’t expect to see the person again for a very long time or ever. For this reason, you will rarely hear, if ever, in day-to-day conversation.

Adieu is literally translated to “to God”, so as to mean something along the lines of – we’ll see one another when we’re with God. It’s rather dramatic and you’ll likely only see it in dramatic pieces of literature.

How to Respond to Au Revoir

There are many different ways to respond to au revoir. The simplest is saying au revoir back. If you’re saying goodbye to a cashier, or a storekeeper, it’s very common to say bonne journée, which means have a nice day or bonne soirée, which means “have a nice evening”. You can also use one of the alternatives to au revoir as you’ll see in the next section.

Alternatives to Au Revoir

À plus tard

À plus tard means “see you later” and is often used in casual settings. You’d only use this expression when you expect to see the person in question later that same day. À plus tard is also commonly shortened to à plus, meaning something like “see you”. If texting, you can even write A+.

À bientôt

À bientôt means “see you soon” and can be used in informal situations as well. You can use it when you expect to see someone soon, within the same week of your meeting.


Salut is also a common way of saying goodbye in French. The nice thing about salut is that it can be used to say both “hello” and “goodbye”. It is quite informal and is frequently used between friends and family members. 


In France it is common to give kisses on the cheek to say hello and goodbye. However, within France, how many kisses are given varies depending on the region you find yourself in. From a simple handshake over one kiss to up to four kisses are considered normal in the country. When you are in a social situation in France, observe how others greet each other and say au revoir whenever you say goodbye.

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