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What does "ciao" mean'''''''

  • Posted Aug 27, 2008
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25 Answers

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It's a Mexican greeting or farewell -- it can mean "bye" or "see you later" or stuff like that, I believe.

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how do I pronounce it'

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chau, ch like in cheese.

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I think it's adopted from Italian & pronounced like chow (the dog) or like chow down (eating).

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I'm currently in Argentina and it is used to say "bye" I haven't heard it used as hello.

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The word "ciao" (pronounced and written in Spanish as "chao") is Italian, where it originally meant "I am your slave".

The word has been written in Spanish academic dictionaries as "chao" for quite a long time. Writing it in Spanish the Italian way is misleading and unnecessary, since our language has strict spelling rules that are often incompatible with the Italian ones.

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lazarus1907 said:

The word "ciao" (pronounced and written in Spanish as "chao") is Italian, where it originally meant "I am your slave".The word has been written in Spanish academic dictionaries as "chao" for quite a long time. Writing it in Spanish the Italian way is misleading and unnecessary, since our language has strict spelling rules that are often incompatible with the Italian ones.

I think that lazarus gave me the clarification about "ciao". After I read posts above, it surprised me and I thought that "oh my, that's a Maxican slang" because I always think that "ciao" is Italian. However lazarus made me think that "OK, I am right". smile

Thank you,

Marco

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Now that we have the correct spelling chao you can double click the word & hear the pronunciation.

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For what it's worth, "chao" (I think that's how they spell it [it's been a while]) is also the standard greeting/leave taking in Vietnamese. As far as I know there has been no significant Italian influence in Viet Nam so I assume that they developed it independently and the similarity is coincidence.

As for Spanish, a while back I went looking for the lyrics of a Spanish song that's used on Spanish language television as part of a car advertisement. I started by looking for "Ciao, ciao, adiós". (I thought they were just being cute in combining Italian and Spanish.) But what I found was lyrics in which it was written "Chau, chau, adiós".

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samdie said:

For what it's worth, "chao" (I think that's how they spell it [it's been a while]) is also the standard greeting/leave taking in Vietnamese, too. As far as I know there has been no significant Italian influence in Viet Nam so I assume that they developed it independently and the similarity is coincidence.As for Spanish, a while back I went looking for the lyrics of a Spanish song that's used on Spanish language television as part of a car advertisement. I started by looking for "Ciao, ciao, adiós". (I thought they were just being cute in combining Italian and Spanish.) But what I found was lyrics in which it was written "Chau, chau, adiós".

Well . . . but there was definitely a French influence in Vietnam! (As you know if you've ever had the pleasure of enjoying good Vietnamese cuisine!)

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samdie said:

While chao appears to be the official Spanish spelling, chau is most definitely in use. In fact, I think I see that spelling most often.

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SoKuhl said:

lazarus1907 said:

The word "ciao" (pronounced and written in Spanish as "chao") is Italian, where it originally meant "I am your slave".

Holy sugarloaf!!! I will have to refrain from laughter, when next I see my friends from Italy and hear them say, "Ciao!"

For those with etymolitis (an incurable disease whose primary symptom is addiction to knowing the source of words), and you know who you are, here is more:

The word derives from the Venetian phrase s-ciào vostro or s-ciào su literally meaning "I am your slave". This greeting is analogous to the Latin Servus which is still used in a large section of Central/Eastern Europe. The expression was not a literal statement of fact, of course, but rather a perfunctory promise of good will among friends (along the lines "if you ever need my help, count on me"). The Venetian word for "slave", s-ciào ['st'ao] or s-ciàvo, is cognate of Italian schiavo and derives from Latin sclavus.

By the way, the modern Italian word schiavo is pronounced ski-YA-vo.

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James said:

SoKuhl said:

lazarus1907 said:

The word "ciao" (pronounced and written in Spanish as "chao") is Italian, where it originally meant "I am your slave".

Holy sugarloaf!!! I will have to refrain from laughter, when next I see my friends from Italy and hear them say, "Ciao!"

For those with etymolitis (an incurable disease whose primary symptom is addiction to knowing the source of words), and you know who you are, here is more:

The word derives from the Venetian phrase s-ciào vostro or s-ciào su literally meaning "I am your slave". This greeting is analogous to the Latin Servus which is still used in a large section of Central/Eastern Europe. The expression was not a literal statement of fact, of course, but rather a perfunctory promise of good will among friends (along the lines "if you ever need my help, count on me"). The Venetian word for "slave", s-ciào ['st'ao] or s-ciàvo, is cognate of Italian schiavo and derives from Latin sclavus.

By the way, the modern Italian word schiavo is pronounced ski-YA-vo.


Given your last two paragraphs (which were interesting) you might have better said "for those of _us_ with
etymolitis..."

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Given your last two paragraphs (which were interesting) you might have better said "for those of _us_ with etymolitis..."

Guilty as charged, but, see, I had already had my fix, so I was referring to those of you still hurting. wink

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samdie said:

Given your last two paragraphs (which were interesting) you might have better said "for those of _us_ with etymolitis..."

Etimos = true (true meaning of the words, here)
Logos = word (and by extension "science, study, treaty,...")

So probably it should be "etymologitis" instead. "Etymolitis" sounds like "true relationship to the stones (ni Greek, "litos")". On the other hand, the prefix "-itis" usually is used to diseases with inflammation.

Sorry, I couldn't help it.

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