|1.||informal farewell; goodbye|
|2.||slang (South African) for the time being; meanwhile|
An unknown sphere, more real than I dreamd, more direct, darts awakening rays about meSo long!Whitman's friend and fan William Sloane Kennedy, wrote in 1923:
Remember my wordsI may again return,
I love youI depart from materials;
I am as one disembodied, triumphant, dead.
"The salutation of partingSo long!was, I believe, until recent years, unintelligible to the majority of persons in America, especially in the interior, and to members of the middle and professional classes. I had never heard of it until I read it in Leaves of Grass, but since then have quite often heard it used by the laboring class and other classes in New England cities. Walt wrote to me, defining so long thus: A salutation of departure, greatly used among sailors, sports, & prostitutesthe sense of it is Till we meet again, conveying an inference that somehow they will doubtless so meet, sooner or later. ... It is evidently about equivalent to our See you later. The phrase is reported as used by farm laborers near Banff, Scotland. In Canada it is frequently heard; and its use is not entirely confined to the vulgar. It is in common use among the working classes of Liverpool and among sailors at Newcastle-upon-Tyne, and in Dorsetshire. ... The London Globe suggests that the expression is derived from the Norwegian Saa laenge, a common form of farewell, au revoir. If so, the phrase was picked up from the Norwegians in America, where So long first was heard. The expression is now (1923) often used by the literary and artistic classes."
Good-bye, as in So long, we'll see you next week. The allusion here is puzzling; long presumably means "a long time" and perhaps the sense is "until we meet again after a long time," but the usage has no such implication. [Colloquial; first half of 1800s]