\ ˈchau̇ How to pronounce ciao (audio) \

Definition of ciao

used conventionally as an utterance at meeting or parting I said ciao and waved goodbye.

First Known Use of ciao

1929, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for ciao

borrowed from Italian, borrowed from Upper Italian ćao, ćavo, reduced form of sćavo, sćao, literally, "slave," as a formulaic polite greeting, altered from Medieval Latin sclavus — more at slave entry 1

Note: By implication, Upper Italian sćavo, sćao presumably formed part of a collocation equivalent to "I am your servant." Cf. the parallel use of Servus as a greeting in parts of southern Germany and Austria.

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Dictionary Entries Near ciao

Ciano

ciao

Ciardi

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Cite this Entry

“Ciao.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/ciao. Accessed 24 May. 2022.

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More from Merriam-Webster on ciao

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