Beyond Words - Language Blog

How to Toast in 20 Languages

If there is one philosophy that transcends cultural boundaries and linguistic differences, it is “Eat, drink, and be merry.”

From the tip of Chile to the top of Siberia, lengthwise and breadth-wise and zigzagging the globe, nations have developed a wide array of phrases and customs associated with drinking and toasting. Most cultures extol the virtues of alcohol’s potent charms – as a substance that brings people together and encourages comradeship – while disparaging excessive drunkenness as unhealthy and corrosive of wit and wisdom.

Along with the myriad international customs associated with drinking, there is also usually one word or short phrase said before or while clinking glasses. In this bit of well-wishing, the drinkers crystallize their fond feelings and warm wishes for one another. Below is a list of just a few of these festive phrases – one never knows when one may find oneself at an international table, flanked by citizens of the world.

Afrikaans
Gesondheid (Health)

Arabic
Fisehatak (To your health)

Armenian
Genatzt / Genatset / Genatsoot (Life)

Chinese
Gan bei (Dry the cup)

Danish
Skaal / Skål (Cheers)

Dutch
Proost (Cheers)

Esperanto
Sanon (To your health)

Estonian
Teie terviseks (To your health)

Finnish
Kippis (Cheers)

French
À votre santé / Santé (Health / To your health)

German
Prost (Cheers)

Hebrew
L’Chaim (To life)

Hungarian
Egészségedre (to your health)

Irish
Sláinte (To your health)

Italian
Salute (Health) / Cin cin (informal)

Japanese
Kampai (Cheers)

Polish
Na zdrowie (To your health)

Portuguese
A sua saúde (To your health)

Russian
Na zdorovje (To your health)

Spanish
Salud (Health)

Swedish
Skål (Cheers)