People in the Basque country commonly use local words, such as agur instead of adiós.

According to our former Spanish teacher, usage of adiós is unadvisable in the Basque country because of its negative connotations: this usage was allegedly associated with Franco.

I mentioned this theory a couple of times when talking with students from Vizcaya, but neither of them seemed to be aware of it. After all, they were from a younger generation.

Does adiós have negative connotations for the Basque people today? If so, why exactly?

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    Welcome to Spanish.SE! Excellent question, +1
    – Richard
    Commented Nov 17, 2011 at 15:25
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    I'd say in fact saying adiós is not that common in Spain. It's much more common to hear hasta luego, hasta mañana, chao (that's Spanish spelling of ciao, and unlike Italians, Spaniards only use it for goodbye).
    – vartec
    Commented Nov 18, 2011 at 15:03

3 Answers 3


I don't think it has negative connotations, although it is true that we're not in the habit of saying it.

Normally, we use the word agur. It is also more usual to say hasta luego (see you later) than adiós because it is less formal.

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    When you say "we do not use to say it" do you mean "we did not use to say it" (it wasn't usual for us to say it in the past but maybe it is now) or "we are not used to saying it" (we haven't become accustomed to saying it yet) or maybe just "we don't usually say it"? Commented Nov 18, 2011 at 10:21
  • @hippietrail He means we just don't say it or we don't usually say it. It is true that it's really difficult to hear us saying adiós, even when we go to the rest of Spain we keep saying agur because it's really deep inside us. And I've never ever heard about that negative connotation, but I'm young as well.
    – JoulSauron
    Commented Nov 19, 2011 at 12:52
  • @Joel: Thanks for clearing that up. I can edit the question to make it easier to read for English speakers now. Commented Nov 19, 2011 at 12:57
  • Yes, I meant that we don't usually say it.
    – J. Calleja
    Commented Nov 19, 2011 at 16:28

I'll share my case. My mother was born in a Basque-only family, and forced to learn Spanish at school. Every time she used a Basque word she was punished. Most mistakes were in usual words as "agur" or "aita" or "ama" (dad and mom in basque).

Several years after, she can't bear hearing Spansih words "papa" or "mama" (again, dad and mom). I learnt both languages at home, but for me there are several "taboo" words that I must say in Basque, even when I speak any other language. However I don't have any trouble if anyone use those words speaking with me, simply my local Spanish taste don't use them.

  • Creo que esta respuesta sería mucho mejor si añadieses la conclusión a la que intentas llegar al compartir el caso. Yo lo que entiendo de esto es que estás de acuerdo con la teoría de la pregunta acerca de la influencia del franquismo sobre el uso de palabras en español en lugar de su traducción al vasco.
    – Brian H.
    Commented Feb 14, 2018 at 16:20
  • También decir que hay algunas partes que no entiendo del todo, tal vez añadir la misma respuesta pero en español puede ayudar a que otros editen la parte escrita en inglés para reflejar mejor tu intención. Un saludo.
    – Brian H.
    Commented Feb 14, 2018 at 16:21

Actually, it's seen as a forced goodbye (as Go away!). That's why its use isn't encouraged.

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    Can you expound upon this at all? I'd like to know more about how/if adios gained/maintained forcible connotation. :D
    – Aarthi
    Commented Nov 17, 2011 at 17:28
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    This is something strictly related with the formality of the word (Adiós) which actually also happens in some latin america countries like Colombia and Peru where people prefer to use some less formal words like "Chao" and "Nos vemos" which means "bye" and "see you" respectively. Commented Nov 18, 2011 at 12:16

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