Bid, bade, bidden

  • The verb bid—meaning (1) to offer, (2) to command, or (3) to invite—used to be inflected bade in the past tense and bidden as a past participle. These forms still appear, especially where what’s bid (or bidden) is a hello or a goodbye, but they are fading from the language and may soon disappear. In today’s English, bid is usually uninflected.



    For example, these writers use bid in the past tense:

    He says he bid for the Valiants because he was impressed by the club’s infrastructure. [This is Staffordshire]

    We bid the driver goodbye just outside Old Town about 8 p.m. [Los Angeles Times]

    She bid her fellow contestants a tearful farewell. []

    And these writers use bid as the participle:

    A proud mother has bid her daughter farewell as she prepares to row 5,000 miles across the Pacific. [London Evening Standard]

    Like a vexing houseguest who overstayed his welcome, it was bid a swift farewell. [Mankato Free Press]

    He had bid his wife and children — Heather, 11, and Tommy, 8 — goodbye at the hotel. [Billings Gazette]


    The traditional forms still appear occasionally (and bade is usually paired with farewell)—for example:

    Cardiff Blues supporters bade farewell to a host of players in their penultimate match of the season. [BBC Sport]

    Misty-eyed couples bade farewell to their friends and well-wishers. [New Zealand Herald]

    I was bidden to the delightful Cruden Farm, near Melbourne and 2000 kilometres away … [Sydney Morning Herald]

    These examples were hard to find, though. Bidden is especially rare, at least in current newswriting.


    This ngram graphs the use of bid, bade, and bidden in English-language books published from 1800 to 2000:

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