Origins of the Most Popular Italian Word

So, as I am sure you all know, Ciao means “Hello/Hi”.  It is possibly the most known and most used Italian word. But do you know its origin? Likely not, and it is quite interesting.

So the origin of Ciao is from the Venetian dialect/language word “sciavo”, which mean “slave”, which in turns comes from thev Latin “Slavus” — which by the way is also the word/adjective used even today, Slavo, to indicate Slavic people. So, during the peak of the Venetian Republic in the 1400s, when Venice ruled most of the commerce in the World, most slaves were, well, Slavic.

In short, the origin of the greeting is an extreme form of submission to the person you run into: it mean something like “at your service”. With centuries of usage, Sciavo became Sciao and the latter became Ciao. Needless to say that the racial and social connotation of the word Ciao have long been lost.