Did someone say ‘til we meet again’ when you were parting ways, and you are wondering what it means?
‘Til we meet again’ is a casual way to say goodbye to someone. The implication is that they are only saying goodbye to you until the next time they see you, and not goodbye forever.
‘Til we meet again’ is a casual way to say goodbye. The action of saying goodbye is known as ‘valediction,’ so ‘til we meet again’ is technically an informal valediction.
You might also see this phrase written in the following ways:
While this is understood to be simply an alternative way to say goodbye to someone, ‘til we meet again’ implies the more complete sentence of ‘goodbye until we meet again.’ The implication is that you aren’t saying goodbye forever but instead only parting ways until you come together once more in the future.
You will also sometimes see ‘til we meet again’ used in memoriam or hear it in a eulogy. The idea behind this usage is that when a person passes away, in certain faiths, it is understood that their soul continues to live on. When the writer or speaker passes away, they expect to be able to see the person they are memorializing again.
Using the Google Books Ngram Viewer, we see that ‘til we meet again,’ ‘until we meet again,’ and ‘till we meet again’ all have risen and fallen in popularity since 1800.
Between 1800 and about 1940, ‘till we meet again’ was the most popular version of the phrase, followed by ‘until we meet again.’ Between 1940 and 1960, they were both used with similar frequency until ‘until we meet again’ became the more common phrase during the 1960s.
‘Til we meet again,’ while still a popular version of the phrase, has always been less frequently used than the other two iterations of the expression.
We find the phrases ‘till we meet again,’ ‘til we meet again,’ and ‘until we meet again’ in texts since the 1800s. Here’s an example from a publication titled The Beggar of the Pont Des Arts by Wilhelm Hauff from the year 1843:
“Again, however, accept my cordial good wishes for your happiness. But as there is a lady in the house, who invites us to tea, I can by no means consent to appear in my traveling dress. Excuse me for a little while, and I will soon return. Adieu, ‘til we meet again!”
We find an example of ‘until we meet again’ from a story published in an 1822 volume of The Museum of Foreign Literature and Science:
“Chide thee, my poor girl! I am too ready in the same offence. But now farewell! Until we meet again I’d have thee pass thy time in thinking over all that I said to thee upon our way. Thou wilt?”
“Till we meet again” was also the title of a popular song from 1918. It was written during World War I and told the story of a soldier that is leaving his sweetheart to go to war. We find our phrase in the final line of the chorus:
Smile the while you kiss me sad adieu,
When the clouds roll by I'll come to you,
Then the skies will seem more blue,
Down in lovers lane my dearie,
Wedding bells will ring so merrily,
Every tear will be a memory,
So wait and pray each night for me,
Till we meet again.
How would you use ‘til we meet again’ in a sentence? Let’s look at some examples:
What are some other words and phrases that have a similar meaning to 'til we meet again'? Here are some other options you might choose when saying goodbye to someone:
‘Til we meet again’ is a nice, casual way to part ways with someone. You can use it in place of goodbye in many settings. While it might not be as common as ‘see you later’ or ‘bye,’ it can be a nice way to add some pizzazz to your goodbye.
Are you looking for some more English phrases to learn? Head over to our idioms blog for more idioms, expressions, and adages!
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