Friday, October 19, 2012

Where does "ciao" come from?

Have you ever wondered what's the etymology, i.e. origin of the Italian greeting word "Ciao" ?
Or alternatively, as you will soon discover, what does it servus mean in German?
Well, as I friend of mine told me, ciao derives from the Venetian dialect "sciavo" or "sciao" that means, wait-for-it ... slave!
Basically, "ciao" is nothing but the shorter version of  "sono vostro schiavo" literally "I'am your slave" but it doesn't sound so weird when you translate it in the much more appropriate  "I am at your service".

Well, maybe it can help you knowing that in Bavaria (south Germany), friends greet each other using the word  "servus".

I have studied (and mostly forgotten) Latin but I clearly remember that servus in that language means "slave", so, again, a short version for "I am at your service"!

Interesting eh?

My friend
Vocabolario Treccani (in Italian)

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