Au Revoir: Meaning & Pronunciation

What does au revoir mean?

In French au revoir is the most formal way of saying goodbye. The literal translation means “to the seeing again”. Au is is a contraction of à + le meaning “to the”, -re is a prefix that means again and voir means to see.

How to reply to au revoir

The best way to respond to au revoir is to simply reply au revoir. In formal situations you can reply with au revoir madame or au revoir monsieur (goodbye, ma’am or goodbye, sir).

Sometimes the word allez precedes au revoir. At the end of a meeting and just before parting ways you will hear “allez, au revoir”. Allez means go but here is really has no specific meaning.

Au revoir vs salut

Salut means hi! and bye! It is less formal and in a more formal setting using au revoir would be much more appropriate.

What’s the difference between au revoir and adieu?

Adieu also means goodbye. Au revoir means goodbye when it’s expected that the two people will see each other again. Adieu, however, means goodbye forever. This would be used when somebody passes away.

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Pronunciation of au revoir

The au is pronounced oh as in oh my gosh! In real spoken French the -re is barely sounded and the voir is said very quickly. In the video below Imagiers pronounces au revoir in the most fluent and common way at the very end of his video.

Video source: Learn French with Vincent

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