In short – ‘Vaya con Dios’ translates as ‘go with God’ and, although it may sound a bit sanctimonious, you do actually hear it uttered outside Church walls. Heck, if you’re at a bar in Cuba, your interlocutor might even be trying to flirt with you!
Wait … What? Yeah, that escalated quickly!
Wanna know more? Well, keep scrolling to find out all about this Spanish expression.
Let’s get to it!
Uses / Meanings of ‘vaya con Dios’
‘Vaya con Dios’ can be used in the following ways –
- As a formal farewell (mostly obsolete)
- As an abrupt way to end a conversation
- As a synonym of ‘good riddance’
- As the first part of a ‘piropo’ – pick up line / catcalling
As a formal farewell (mostly obsolete)
Let´s first break down the phrase ‘vaya con Dios’:
- ‘vaya’ = ‘go’
- ‘con’ = ‘with’
- ‘Dios’ = ‘God’
Erika´s note – just a quick note on ‘vaya’: in this instance it´s actually the 3rd person singular (formal “usted”) conjugation of the verb ‘ir’ in the imperative mood!
Using this specific conjugation (i.e., the “usted” form) results in an extremely formal phrase only really used to address someone we want to treat with the utmost respect, such as an elder or an authority figure (in Mexico at least!).
Nowadays, it’s rare to hear people use this expression, since it’s considered awfully old-fashioned. Regardless, you may well encounter it in Spanish literature or from the mouths of elder folk.
To conjugate this phrase in the informal ‘tú’ (or ‘you’) just say: ‘ve con Dios’ … but keep in mind that it’s just as outdated!
Un médico visita a su paciente
Me retiro, Sra. Gómez. Recuerde descansar y tomar* muchos líquidos.
Así lo haré. Vaya con Dios, doctor.
A doctor visits his patient
I’m leaving, Mrs. Gomez. Remember to rest and drink plenty of fluids.
I will. Farewell, doctor.
*Erika´s note – ‘tomar’ doesn´t just translate as ‘to take’ … it can also mean ‘to drink’. Be sure to check out our article on ‘tomar’ vs ‘beber’ if you wanna know more!
As an abrupt way to end a conversation
At some point in the 19th century people started using this phrase as a way of cutting short an unpleasant conversation.
Octavio – La verdad no veo por qué se molesta, me parece que usted es …
Pamela – ¡Vaya con Dios! Que yo no tengo por qué escuchar sus tonterías.
Octavio – I really don’t see why you’re upset; I think you’re just a …
Pamela – Go with God! I don’t have to listen to your nonsense.
Erika´s note – chances are you’re not gonna come across this use often (at least not in everyday conversation) as it’s also pretty archaic.
As a synonym of ‘good riddance’
Even though it´s not that common in modern spoken Spanish, you may also come across the phrase ‘vaya con Dios’ used in a similar way to the English ‘good riddance’.
Leticia – ¿Te enteraste de que renunció Paulo?
Axel – Sí, y que vaya con Dios.
Leticia – Did you hear Paulo quit?
Axel – Yes, and I say good riddance.
As the first part of a ‘piropo’ – pick up line / catcalling
Even though ‘vaya con Dios’ has been losing popularity in everyday, spoken Spanish over the decades, it IS still used in Latin America, especially in countries like Cuba, Costa Rica, and Colombia as part of a ‘piropo’.
And what exactly is that?
Well, ‘piropos’ are popular pick-up lines or catcalls.
And although an overwhelming amount of them are directed at women, ‘vaya con Dios’ is part of a ‘piropo’ that’s used by BOTH men and women.
It goes as follows –
Vaya con Dios, suegra, que yo me voy con su hijo.
Go with God, mother-in-law, ‘cause I’m going with your son.
As you can see – and although the phrase sounds innocent enough – the intention is to flirt with someone while being cheeky with their parent.
And you wouldn’t believe how popular it still is in some parts of Latin America!
´Vaya con dios´ pronunciation
Let’s break down the sounds in ‘vaya con dios’:
- ‘Vaya’ has two syllables, which sound like ‘bah’ – ‘yah’
- ‘Con’ sounds like ‘kohn’
- Finally, ‘Dios’ sounds like ‘dyohs’
/ bah-yah kohn dyohs /
Similar expressions to ‘vaya con dios’
Que Dios le acompañe / Que Dios te acompañe
‘May God be with you’ is another fairly archaic farewell, though you may still occasionally hear it being used by older generations!
This one’s the formal version, but you can switch the pronoun ‘le’ for ‘te’ to get an informal alternative –
¡Adiós, mijo*, que Dios te acompañe!
Goodbye, darling, God be with you!
Erika’s note – ‘mijo’ is a VERY common term of endearment in Mexico, the likes of ‘dear’ or ‘sweetheart’!
Dios lo bendiga / Dios te bendiga
This expression means ‘God bless you’ and it’s a blessing uttered not just by priests and religious folk, but also by loving parents and grandparents across the Spanish-speaking world.
¡Dios te bendiga, arreglaste el microondas!
God bless you, you fixed the microwave!
Que le vaya bien / Que te vaya bien
Over the years ‘vaya con Dios’ has mostly been replaced by ‘que le vaya bien’ when bidding someone farewell.
It maintains the same positive intention but without the religious overtones.
¡Que le vaya bien, Don Joaquín!
Farewell, Don Joaquín!
So, if you ever find yourself on the receiving end of ‘vaya con Dios’, it’s probably a well-intentioned farewell.
Of course, there’s always the possibility that it´ll be thrown at you unexpectedly in the streets of Cuba or Colombia, in which case someone might be trying to flirt with you!
Wanna know other interesting Spanish expressions? Head on over to our article on ‘a la orden’. It’s gonna come in handy, I promise!