I don’t know why you say ‘good-bye’

I’d like to say goodbye to “good-bye.”

The unhyphenated “goodbye” gets nearly five times as many Google hits. “Goodbye” is the preferred spelling in the Associated Press Stylebook. The American Heritage and Webster’s New World dictionaries list goodbye as the first spelling. Bryan Garner in “Garner’s Modern American Usage,” compares the hyphenated form to the archaic “to-day.”

Merriam-Webster, though, includes only “good-bye” and “good-by.” Many style guides, including the Chicago Manual of Style, prefer a Merriam-Webster dictionary, so “good-bye” is with us for now.

The word in any form is only a few hundred years old, stemming from the earlier “good morning” and “good day,” etc., and a shortening of the phrase “God be with you.”

Addendum (May 26, 2013):

Merriam-Webster’s newest dictionary, the Advanced Learner’s Dictionary, has no hyphens in its entry for “goodbye,” giving only the “goodby” variant. I would guess we’ll see the hyphen slip away in the new online Unabridged at some point soon.


Everyone said it’s easy. I was up late trying to figure out how to include all my website information in one place, and I failed. Or at least fell asleep. All I succeeded in doing was transferring the URL to my blog, so my site exists only on a hidden server somewhere and on my hard drive.

If you are looking for http://www.markallenediting.com, I hope to have my information back up here soon. If you need anything in the meantime, I’m at markallen@copydesk.org, 614-961-9666, @EditorMark on Twitter and (sometimes) copyeditor1 on Skype.

If you are looking for editormark.wordpress.com, my blog postings are all below.

If you are looking for my archive of tweeted tips, most of them also are on this site — I copied them to my blog when I reached about 500. Scroll down to find them.

Thanks for your patience.