say goodbye in chinese

9 Useful Ways to Say Goodbye in Chinese

Perhaps you know how to say hello, but not how to say goodbye in Chinese.

Or perhaps you already know 再见 (zài jiàn), but aren’t familiar with the other numerous ways Chinese people bid each other farewell.

In this blog post, you’ll learn nine common expressions native speakers use to say goodbye in Chinese, along with detailed explanations so you can be sure you’re saying exactly what you want.



1. 再见 (zài jiàn) — See you again

This is the most vanilla goodbye in Chinese. It’s what you learn on your first day of Chinese class, and you can’t go wrong with it. 再 means again. 见 means to see someone.

So in literal terms, it doesn’t mean “goodbye.” It means “see you again.”

You say this even if you don’t expect to see someone again though.

2. 拜拜啦! (bài bai lā) — Bye bye!

This is especially common in Taiwan. It came over from English and sounds just like what it means: bye bye!

3. 明天见 (míng tiān jiàn) — See you tomorrow

This is a spin on 再见. Instead of 再, we have 明天, which means “tomorrow.”

So this means “see you tomorrow.”

In contrast to 再见, don’t use this unless you expect to see them tomorrow. Otherwise, they’ll be confused.

4. 再会! (zài huì!) — Meet you again!

This is like 再见 but isn’t as common. 会 means to meet. This feels kind of like “catch you later!”

5. 再联系! (zài lián xì!) — Let’s stay in touch!

This is a variation where you emphasize staying in touch, aside from actually meeting each other. 联系 means to contact a person.

This word could be used politely by some people even though they don’t really intend to stay in touch.

6. 有空再聊 (yǒu kòng zài liáo) — Let’s chat again when you’re free

This is a very casual way to say goodbye. 有空 means to have free time.  聊 means to chat.

So if you use this phrase, you’ll sound very local and authentic.

It’ll also sound like you think the person you’re talking to is your buddy. Which could be taken differently (in a very friendly way, or even offensively) depending on the context.

So it’s probably best saved for your buddies.

7. 我不得不说再见了 (wǒ bù dé bù shuō zài jiàn le) — I’ve got to go

Now you’re being really thoughtful.

This mouthful literally means “I have no choice but to say goodbye.”

You already know that 我 means “I.”

不得不 means “to have no choice but to do something.”

说 means “to say.”

了 expresses that something has changed (mainly that you didn’t have to go before, but now you do).

This one is a very nice thing to say, but it doesn’t necessarily sound polite or formal.

It’s kind of like when you tell your friends, “listen guys, I’d really love to stay, but I just have to go.”

8. 我先告辞了 (wǒ xiān gào cí le) — I must leave first

This is a polite and very standard way to leave a social setting. It feels kind of like “pardon me.”

Literally, this one means something like “I announce my departure first.”

先 means “first.” 告 means “to announce.” 辞 means “to leave.”

You could use this with your friends and it wouldn’t feel awkward. You would say it casually, but it would still express respect for them.

9. 失陪了 (shī péi le) — Sorry for leaving

This one is the most formal. 失 means “to fail” or “to lose.” 陪 means “to accompany.”

You could use this with your friends, but it could sound like you’re trying to use it humorously because it’s so polite.

4 Resources for Practicing to Say Goodbye in Chinese

  • FluentU — An immersion learning program that lets you learn Chinese naturally and in context through authentic videos and interactive subtitles.
  • Chinese TV shows and movies — You’ll hear loads of farewell terms when watching native Chinese media.


I hope this post on saying “goodbye” in Chinese helps you leave a good impression on your friends! Try a few out and prepare for them to be amazed.

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