Vocabulary, Definition & Background

Slow Pronunciation


Fast Pronunciation

สวัสดี (Sà-wàd-dee) was introduced into Thai language by พระยาอุปกิตศิลปสาร (Phraya Upakitsilpasan) in B.E. 2485 (A.D. 1942) by considering the term โสตถิ (Sotthi) in Pali or สวัสติ (Svasti) in Sanskrit. สวัสดี (Sà-wàd-dee) is derived from the Sanskrit word สวสฺติ read as สะ-วัด-ติ (Sà-wàd-tì) meaning “May goodness be with you”.

พระยาอุปกิตศิลปสาร (Phraya Upakitsilpasan) then adjusted the pronunciation of the word สวสฺติ read as สะ-วัด-ติ (Sà-wàd-tì) to สวัสดี (Sà-wàd-dee) adjusting the syllable ติ (tì) to ดี (dee) a softer consonant sound and long vowel sound (which is a live sound) so it sounds melodious and pleasant to the ears as well as easier for Thais to pronounce.

He started to use this word for the first time at the Faculty of Arts in Chulalongkorn University when he was a professor there in 2486 (AD. 1943).

Subsequently, the Prime Minister at the time approved the word สวัสดี (Sà-wàd-dee) as a formal greeting word. It was then used instead of former greetings such as สบายดีหรือ : Sà-baai~Dee Rŭee? = (Are you) well? ( สบายดี : Sà-baai~Dee = be well/fine, หรือ : Rŭee? = yes/no question word).

The Royal Institute Dictionary defines the meaning of the word สวัสดี (Sà-wàd-dee) as “goodness, virtue, prosperity and safety”.


สวัสดี (Sà-wàd-dee) is generally used in 4 different situations;

1. Used as a greeting word when you meet someone as in ‘Hello’


2. Used as a parting word as in ‘Good bye’

Vocabulary Notes: 

The word สวัสดี (Sà-wàd-dee) is used as a greeting word and at the same time as a blessing. When saying it, Thais would raise both hands, palm against palm, as a symbol of the lotus flower which Thais use to worship Buddha, Dharma, monks and respected elders or people. Both palms at the level of the heart convey that the greeting and blessing is from the heart and mind of the person.


The word สวัสดี (Sà-wàd-dee) is also modified to สวัสดิ (Sà-wàd-dì) or สวัสดิ์ (Sà-wàd). For example;

อรุณสวัสดิ์ (À-roon~Sà-wàd) = Good morning ( อรุณ : À-roon = [noun] dawn)

ราตรีสวัสดิ์ (Raa-tree~Sà-wàd) = Good night ( ราตรี : Raa-tree = [noun] night)

(The words above are translated from English language which are not often used)



3. Used as a blessing word when you wish someone a safe journey.

For example

สวัสดิภาพ (Sà-wàd-di~Pâab) = safety, security

ขอให้เดินทางโดยสวัสดิภาพ: Kŏr~Hâi Dern~Taang Doi Sà-wàd-di~Pâab

to wish for + to travel + by/by means of/through/due to + safety/security

= (I) wish (you) to have a safe journey.

= Have a safe journey. / Have a safe trip.


Vocabulary Notes:

ขอให้ : Kŏr~Hâi = [verb] to wish for

(combined from the word ขอ : Kŏr = to request, to ask for and ให้ : Hâi = for, to give, to pass to)

เดินทาง : Dern~Taang = [action verb] to travel, to have a journey, to have a trip

โดย : Doi = [preposition] by, by means of, through [conjunction] due to



4. Used as a blessing word when you wish someone success

For example;

ขอให้มีความสุขสวัสดิ์/สวัสดี : Kŏr~Hâi Mee Kwaam+Sòok Sà-wàd/Sà-wàd-dee

to wish for + to have + happiness + goodness, virtue, prosperity and safety

= (I) wish (you) to have happiness, goodness, virtue, prosperity and safety


ขอให้สวัสดีมีชัย : Kŏr~Hâi  Sà-wàd-dee Mee Chai

to wish for + goodness, virtue, prosperity and safety + to have + victory

= (I) wish (you) to have goodness, virtue, prosperity and safety and victory.

= (I) wish goodness, virtue, prosperity and safety and victory to be with you.


Vocabulary Notes:

มี : Mee = [verb] to have, to own, to possess

ความสุข : Kwaam+Sòok = [noun] happiness

ชัย : Chai = [noun] victory, triumph, success



สวัสดีปีใหม่ค่ะ : Sà-wàd-dee Bpee Mài Kâ 

= prosperity/hello + year + new + polite particle used by female

= New year greetings!




Post By ครูเจี๊ยบ : Kruu Jíab

Follow Kruu Jiab for free Thai language updates here