10 Ways to Say ''Cheers!'' Around the World

Staff Writer
Toasting over drinks is a great way to meet people and ingratiate yourself in a new country or culture
You can always cheers your friends in French with a quick “to your health,” or “A la votre santé.”

The truth is that if you’re buying a round, you can get away with saying “cheers!” in English just about anywhere you might go. That said, there’s nothing like being a good guest in a country you’re visiting, and while you probably won’t be able to learn the language everywhere you might want to visit, you can always learn some useful phrases to show that you’re making an effort. Along with “thank you,” “this is delicious,” and “where’s the bathroom,” a great phrase to have on hand in the language of the country you’re visiting is a simple “cheers!”

10 Ways to Say “Cheers!” Around the World (Slideshow)

There are plenty of origin stories for the idea of saying “cheers” and clinking glasses. One (probably apocryphal, but very fun) story originates in the not-so-pleasant idea that your drinking partner may be trying to poison you. If you clink your metal tankard of beer hard enough against your drinking buddy/potential enemy’s, however, you’ll undoubtedly spill some of your drink into each other’s cups – so if your partner were trying to poison you, he’ll end up poisoning himself, too.  Today, we usually sip from glass, which doesn’t respond quite so well to a hard crack, and we’re a little less concerned with the idea of being poisoned and considerably more worried about sharing germs with our friends, so we tend to just tap glasses for the sound of a light “clink,” rather than actively trying to slosh your wine into your friend’s.

Many of the simple “cheers!” in other languages are versions of “to your health,” and others are just quick phrases that simply mean “let’s drink!” None, however, are as weird or funny as the traditional English cheers, “Here’s mud in your eye!” About as strange as the actor’s “break a leg,” this little cheers is associated with the trenches of World War I, but actually originated before then. Nobody knows who first coined the term, but the phrase has been used as a wish for good luck and health for its recipients since the 1800s. Read on to learn some phrases you might want to incorporate into your next trip.

Russian

As Masha Vapnitchnaia discussed in“Drinking Like a Russian During the Sochi Winter Olympics,” toasts with vodka are an integral part of Russian drinking culture. There isn’t a direct transliteration of “cheers,” but the simplest toast — and one that’s often used — is to drink to someone’s health:  за ваше здоровье. Don’t read Cyrillic? That’s cool, neither do we. It’s pronounced: "Za vashe zdorovye."

Portuguese

If you’re drinking in Brazil, chances are high that you’re going to encounter cachaça, a sweet, clear rum that is popular throughout the country. Be forewarned though: although the drink is served in a shot glass, it is not considered polite to shoot it back the way you might here in the States. You can sip it, or mix it into a caipirinha, Brazil’s national cocktail. When you cheers, you can say either “Saúde” (pronounce it saw-OO-jay) or “tim-tim,” (pronounced ching ching, similar to Italian).

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