When we travel it’s nice to put English on the shelf for awhile and try to learn a new language… or at least the most important phrases – ‘please,’ ‘thank-you,’ and, of course, ‘cheers!’
The ancient Egyptians did it. The ancient Chinese did it. And so did the Greeks. Evidence shows us that people around the world have been partaking in booze for thousands of years. Following suit, the act of ‘toasting’ and clinking glasses together, has been taking place for so long that it’s origins are quite blurry. There are many debated theories out there—the most popular being the noise of ‘clinking’ was to ward off evil spirits. Another tale touts that by crashing glasses together, the libations in each glass would slosh into the others’ cup, therefore proving neither was poisoned. Regardless, people all over the world continue to drink together and toast together. Most commonly the toast translates to ‘good health,’ something we all need after one too many.
When traveling the act of sharing a libation with a local brings people together all over the world. So it’s very important that you learn how to say “cheers” to your new found friends. Here is a cheat sheet for you to print out, laminate, tuck into your passport, or copy to your cell phone. Enjoy.
- Afrikaans: Gesondheid! (Ge-sund-hate)
- Albanian: Gëzuar! (Géschuar)
- Arabic (Egyptian): في صحتكم!(Fee-sa-ha-tak)
- Armenian: Կենացդ (gen-ots-nute)
- Azerbaijan:i Afiyët oslun!(Afeeyet Ohs-lun)
- Basque: On egin! (On egín)
- Bosnian: Živjeli! (Zhee-vi-lee)
Candy is Dandy, But liquor is quicker.
[© 1936 by Ogden Nash, REFLECTIONS ON ICE-BREAKING]
- Bulgarian: Наздраве! (NAZ-dra-vey)
- Chinese (Cantonese): (Gom bui)
- Chinese (Mandarin): 乾杯! [干杯!] (Gan BAY)
- Czech: Na zdravi (NAZ-drah vi)
- Croatian: Živjeli! (ZHEE-vi-lee)
- Danish: Skål!(Skol)
Drink is the feast of reason and the flow of soul.
- Dutch Proost! (Prohst)
- English Cheers! Bottoms up! Down the hatch! Here’s mud in your eye!
- Esperanto Je via sano! Toston! (YEH VEE-ah SAH-no/Tóston)
- Estonian Terviseks! (Ter-vi-seks)
- Ethiopian (Amharic) Letenachin (L’-TAY-nah-chin)
- Farsi (Ba-sal-a-ma-TEE)
Eat thy bread with joy,
and drink thy wine with a merry heart.
- Finnish: Kippis! (KEEP-us)
- French: Sante! (Sahn-tay)
- Gaelic (Irish): Sláinte! (Slawn-che)
- German: Prost! (Prohst)
- Greek: στηνυγειάσας! (Stin Eyiassou/Stin Eye-ee-yass-ooh)
- Hawaiian :Okole Maluna! (Å’kålè ma’luna)
Payday came and with it beer.
- Hebrew: לְחַיִּים!/L’Chaim! (Le Hy-em)
- Hungarian: Egeszsegere! (Egg-esh Ay-ged-reh)
- Italian : Salute! Cin cin! (Salu-tay/Chin Chin)
- Japanese: /Kampai! (Kam-pie)
- Korean: 위하여 (Gun-bae)
- Latvian: Prieka! (Pree-eh-ka)
- Lithuanian: i sveikata!(Ee sweh-kata)
The problem with some people is that
when they aren’t drunk they’re sober.
-William Butler Yeats
- Luxembourgish: Prost!(Prohst)
- Maltese: Evviva! (A-vee-va)
- Mongolian: Эрүүл мэндийн төлөө! (Erüül mehdiin tölöö)
- Norwegian: Skål! (Skoal)
- Persianبه سلامت: ی!(beh salamati)
- Polish: Na zdrowie! (Naz-droh-vee-ay)
- Portuguese: Saúde! (Sow-ooh-jee)
- Romanian: Noroc! (No-roak)
Work is the curse of the drinking class.
- Russian: Будем здоровы! (Boo-dem Zdo-ro-vee-eh)
- Serbian: Ziveli! (ZHEE-vi-lee)
- Slovak: Na zdravie! (Naz-drah-vee-ay)
- Spanish : ¡Salud!(Sah-lud)
- Swedish: Skål! (Skol)
Here’s to you and here’s to me,
the best of friends we’ll ever be,
but if we ever disagree,
to hell with you and here’s to me.
- Thai: ไชโย!(Chok-dee)
- Turkish: Şerefe! (Sher-i-feh)
- Vietnamese: Chúc sức khoẻ!/ Một hai ba, yo! (chook-sa-koi-ah/Maht, hi, bah, yo!)
- Yiddish: געזונטערהייט! Zei Gazunt! (Zye GAH-zoont)
- Zulu: Oogy wawa!(oogee-wawa)
Undoubtedly you will be making many toasts in your lifetime and hopefully in many different languages. So hoist a glass with some new friends and drink in the moment. Cheers!