Bid, bade, bidden

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| Grammarist

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| Usage

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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