I recently found in my dictionary the triple: проща́ться (нв.), прости́ться (св.), попроща́ться (св.), for to say goodbye.

What do the two imperfective forms mean here in particular?

Is there a general scheme for the meaning in such cases where there are two perfective forms not only differing by a prefix?

  • I remember your similar question about imperfective ) russian.stackexchange.com/questions/22370/… - yep, it's. a non-trivial topic in Russian )
    – shabunc
    May 8, 2020 at 13:39
  • @shabunc Yes, the only difference is that here I have two perfective forms.
    – Bubaya
    May 8, 2020 at 13:47
  • 1
    sure, it's a different question, nobody argues with that )
    – shabunc
    May 8, 2020 at 13:48

2 Answers 2


Проститься often means to say goodbye forever or for a long time. Sometimes it refers to the custom of asking forgiveness before taking one's leave.

Они простились с усопшим.

Мы простились и он уехал (far away and for a long time).

Прощаться (попрощаться) means to say goodbye before parting for a short period of time. Sometimes it may be applied in the case of parting for a long time or forever.

мы попрощались. (and we will see each other tomorrow or soon)

  • 1
    I upvoted your answer but, as I read it, I was thinking that this may vary across regions. I mean, попрощаться с усопшим sounds ideomatic to me too...
    – tum_
    May 8, 2020 at 17:09

"Прости́ться" in the meaning of "saying goodbye" is considered archaic in modern Russian where "попроща́ться" would be used instead. For example:

Царь с царицею простился,
В путь-дорогу снарядился,
И царица у окна
Села ждать его одна.

In the modern language, the first line would be expressed as "царь с царицей попрощался". "Прости́ться" can still be used when saying goodbye forever — like leaving for good or a final farewell to the deceased.

  • 2
    «"Прости́ться" in the meaning of "saying goodbye" is considered archaic in modern Russian language» ??? youtube.com/watch?v=-8L9AmmtgG8
    – Elena
    May 8, 2020 at 14:18
  • 2
    Yup, I don't feel myself archaic (yet) but I perceive проститься as a "normal" word...
    – tum_
    May 8, 2020 at 16:50

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