Au Revoir Meaning & Pronunciation

What does au revoir mean?

In French “au revoir” (pronounced oh-vwahr) means goodbye, bye and farewell. It is the most formal way of saying good-bye. In this post we’ll closely examine the pronunciation of au revoir, salut vs. au revoir and look at some related expressions.

Au Revoir: Complete Guide

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Here at Frenchlearner.com we have you covered for learning French greetings. This page on our site covers ways of saying hello in French and this page covers ways of saying goodbye. This page provides a complete overview of French greetings.

Pronunciation of au revoir

Before we go any further let’s have a look at how to pronounce au revoir. The “au” is pronounced like “oh” as in “oh my gosh!”. The “re” is completely silent. Do not pronounce it. If you do, you’re pronouncing “au revoir” wrong. The “voir” is pronounce “vwahr”. Hence, the complete pronunciation is: “oh-vwhar”.

This page on Forvo provides some excellent audio samples of the pronunciation of au revoir. In addition, the following video from Julien on YouTube teaches the correct pronunciation:

Allez, au revoir !

When saying “au revoir”, the French often precede it with the word “allez”. This comes from the verb “aller”, which means to go. This page on our site explores “aller” in great detail.

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Thus, “aller, au revoir !” can translate to both “Well, goodbye”, according to this page on reverso.net.

Au revoir: goodbye in French

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).

Au revoir vs salut

The greeting word “salut” translate to both “hi!” and “bye!”. It is much less formal than “au revoir”. In more formal settings using au revoir would be much more appropriate. This page on our site covers salut in detail.

Au revoir and adieu?

Adieu also means goodbye in French. Au revoir means goodbye when it’s expected that the two people will see each other again. Adieu, however, means goodbye forever. The word “adieu” is most commonly used when somebody passes away.

A few expressions with au revoir

In French, “au revoir” appears in a few expressions which we’ll observe below:

  • Ce n’est qu’un au revoir Meaning: “It’s just a goodbye” and the French name of the song, Auld Lang Syne
  • Dire au revoir à quelqu’un to say goodbye to somebody
  • Se dire au revoir to say goodbye to each other

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