There are many different phrases you can use to say goodbye in Serbian. Depending on the situation and the person you are talking to, they vary from formal to completely informal.
When you check how to say goodbye in Serbian in a dictionary or a phrasebook, you will definitely find the translation: “doviđenja”. But that’s hardly the one and only word Serbians use when saying goodbye to each other. Actually, there are more phrases that they can say when parting. Just like how they use many different expressions to say wish someone good night in Serbian.
The 10 Most Common Ways To Say Goodbye In Serbian
In general, Serbians tend to be very informal in all of their conversations, so in order to speak like one of them, it’s encouraged that you talk informally. Having that in mind, we will start with some informal ways to say goodbye in Serbian:
Did you know that you can say “Zdravo” and “Ćao” to both to greet someone and to say goodbye? These expressions are used both as an informal ‘hello’ and ‘goodbye’. As in many other languages, Serbian have adapted Ćao from the Italian ‘Ciao’.
To finish an informal conversation with family or a friend, Serbians often say “Vidimo se“ (literal translation: see you, or we see each other), since they know that they will meet again soon.
If you intend to talk to your Serbian friend or partner on the phone and need to say goodbye, you should say “Čujemo se“. It literally means: “we hear each other” or “I’ll talk to you on the phone”.
Also, ‘Čujemo se’ is usually combined with a time or date when you may speak next, such as kasnije, večeras, sutra, prekosutra, kasnije, u petak, za vikend, etc (later, tonight, tomorrow, the day after tomorrow, on Friday, on the weekend). As you can imagine, there are plenty of combinations you can use if you plan to see or call someone again. You can just say exact day or date.
“Čujemo se večeras!” (talk to you tonight)
One very specific phrase is: “Čujemo se večeras, pa se vidimo sutra.” (talk to you on the phone tonight, and then see you tomorrow). You can use this sentence when talking over the phone and are planning to meet them later.
Vidimo se u ponedeljak! (see you on Monday!)
Also, both of these expressions to say goodbye in Serbian can be used in the future tense: “Čućemo se, Videćemo se” (we will hear each other, we will see each other).
“Uživaj” is an informal variant of “Prijatno“ (we will talk about it a bit later). You can use it in singular „Uživaj!“(enjoy yourself). However, when you want to use it as a goodbye to your friends in kafana, you would use the plural – “Uživajte!” (enjoy yourselves).
You will hear a combination of these expressions many times. For example, you could hear:
„Ćao, čujemo se, uživaj!“
When leaving late at night, we will always say “Laku noć”. It’s safe to use that phrase for both formal and informal situations. If you want to act more Serbian, “Laku noć” should be followed by a hand shake with a friend or good-night kiss with your partner. In other words, you should say laku noć when it’s late at night and you’re leaving to go to sleep.
Formal Ways To Say Goodnight In Serbian
This literally means “until seeing”. In some cases, Serbians put another word in the middle of it, such as in the phrase “Do skorog viđenja“. This means “until I see you again”, but that’s mostly written in emails (or letters in the past). It’s kind of old-fashioned, so we don’t really use it that often.
Doviđenja is usually combined with another word, which is actually another formal goodbye in Serbian: “Prijatno”. This literally translates to “pleasantly”.
The funny thing about the word Prijatno is its dual usage; the first one is a greeting, and the second one is ‘Bon Appetite’. Having in mind the Serbian obsession with food and eating, it is a word every foreigner in Serbia should learn. 🙂
Also, you can use it to say that something is pleasant: “Ovde je prijatno” (it’s pleasant here).
Tip: If you want to be extra polite to someone, you should combine these two words: “Doviđenja, prijatno”.
If you have seen the word “Zbogom“, it most probably appeared in a book because it’s now obsolete and not used nowadays. The translation would be: “May God be with you”. If you use it today, Serbians will think that you’re leaving for good and never want to see them again. Another thing that they can think is that you’re extra religious.
If you ever have the privilege to talk to old people, you will likely hear them use “Uzdravlje” (to our health) as another archaic way to say goodbye in Serbian. On the other hand, you can use it when you want to toast with someone, in addition to “Živeli“, which is also used as a goodbye interjection.
Jele te bube celu noć! (let the bugs bite you all night!)
Serbians like to be mischievous with their friends and often make jokes. So, if you want to fit in, when someone says goodbye or good night to you when leaving, you can answer “Jele te bube celu noć!” (let the bugs bite you all night).
Now you should know what to say to your Serbian friends when leaving, and that you can say “Zdravo” both to greet them and to say goodbye. Try out both the formal and informal expressions we commonly use to say goodbye in Serbian.
If you really want to learn what to say to your Serbian friends when leaving, you should consider using a language learning app like the Ling App.
Until the next time, or I should say – Doviđenja!
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