How to Say “Cheers” in 16 Different Languages

updated Dec 8, 2022
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New Year’s Eve means a lot of different things to different people across the globe, but one thing stays true for just about everyone: It’s a time to celebrate and reflect on the year past and the one ahead once all the gifts have been given and holiday merriment has taken place. And while stateside people like to ring in the New Year with champagne and a congenial “cheers,” different cultures around the world have their own distinct celebratory toasts. 

So in honor of NYE, here are 16 different “cheers”-style greetings from across the globe. While they all don’t literally translate to “bottoms up,” most are the go-to drink-clinking greeting for their respective region. From an old-school Spanish “salud” to a typical Korean toast, read ahead to see how to say cheers in  different languages. 

1. Cheers in Italian: Cin! Cin! 

Pronounced: Cheen cheen
Translation: “Cheers!” 

Italians celebrate with the sound of glasses clinking when they wish each other, “Cin! Cin!” It’s a festive alternative to the more traditional “cheers!” which, in a similar vein as Spain and other Western European countries, is “salute” or, “to your health.”

2. Cheers in Irish Gaelic: Sláinte! 

Pronounced: SLAHN-juh
Translation: “Cheers!” 

Ireland is another country that commonly toasts to one’s health, with the term, “Slainte,” which essentially means, “to your health.” In this green, rainy country, you may also hear the phrase, “sláinte is táinte,” which roughly translates to “health and wealth.”  

3. Cheers in Turkish: Şerefe! 

Pronounced: cheh-reh-FEH
Translation: “Cheers!”

There are several ways to give well wishes to your peers while drinking in Turkey (something that happens A LOT, apparently). But the most common way (and the easiest to pronounce, by far) is the term, “Serefe!” which means — you guessed it — cheers!

4. Cheers in Japanese: 乾杯 / Kanpai

Pronounced: Kan-pie
Translation: “Cheers” or “Dry Cup” or “Empty the glass”

In Japan, an enthusiastic “kanpai!,” which translates to empty cup, isn’t just a celebratory way to cheer, it’s a respected pre-drinking ritual. So New Year’s Eve or not, don’t even think about chugging a beer (or sake) in Japan before everyone at your table has said: “Kan-pie!”

5. Cheers in Spanish: Salud

Pronounced: Sah-lud
Translation: “Health”

While you might have already known that most Spanish-speaking countries like to clink their drinks to a cheerful “Salud!,” it seems the saying is popular for more than just a festive toast. You see, “Salud” literally translates to “health” so it’s used to wish others good health and prosperity — which means you’re just as likely to hear someone say it after you sneeze as you would to ring in the New Year.

6. Cheers in German: Prost

Pronounced: Prohst
Translation: “Cheers”

If you’ve ever spent time in Germany (or an Oktoberfest event for that matter), chances are you’ve heard the term “Prost” loud and clear. The most popular way to toast in German-speaking countries, saying “Prost” is all but mandatory before knocking back a beer.

7. Cheers in French: Santé! / À votre santé!

Pronounced: Sahn-tay / Ah vo-tre sahn-tay
Translation: “To your health”

Whether you’re sitting next to your boss or a stranger at the bar, if you want to make a toast in France, you say: “Santé!,” which translates to “health.” Okay to use in both formal and informal settings, you can also say “À votre santé!,” which is the more polite way to say “to your health.”

8. Cheers in Portuguese: Saúde

Pronounced: Saw-OO-de
Translation: Health

Similar to the French “Santé!” and Spanish “Salud!,” the Portuguese prefer to drink to each other’s health by saying “Saúde!” instead of simply saying “cheers.” So the next time you’re about to enjoy a cachaça in Brazil, remember to say “Saúde” before you start drinking.

9. Cheers in Korean: 건배 / Geonbae

Pronounced: Gun-bae
Translation: “Empty glass”

In Korea, the word 건배 (or geonbae) literally means “empty glass”, making it similar to the stateside expression “bottoms up”. And while the word implies that you should drink the whole of your drink after toasting, it’s not actually necessary.

10. Cheers in Swedish: Skål

Pronounced: Skawl
Translation: “Cheers”

Not only is it customary to say “skål” (i.e. “cheers”) before toasting and taking a drink in Sweden, you’re supposed to look everyone in your party directly in the eye — both before and after you take a drink — to practice proper Swedish social etiquette.

11. Cheers in Afrikaans: Gesondheid

Pronounced: Ge-sund-hate
Translation: “Health”

While the term “cheers” is commonly used in English-speaking parts of South Africa, the Afrikaan-speaking population has their own term to toast to: “Gesondheid.” The word literally translates to “health” and sounds an awful lot like the German word for “health” (“gesundheit”), which isn’t all that surprising considering the Afrikaans language has Dutch roots.

12. Cheers in Chinese (Mandarin): 干杯 / Gānbēi

Pronounced: Gan-bay
Translation: “Cheers” or “dry cup”

Similar in sound to the go-to toast of the Japanese and Koreans, the popular way to cheer in China is to say “gānbēi”, which translates specifically to “dry cup.”

13. Cheers in Greek: Υγεία / Yamas

Pronounced: Ya-Mas
Translation: “Health”

If you ever plan on toasting someone in Greece (and why the heck wouldn’t you?), know that it’s customary to clink your glasses and say “Yamas.” The phrase literally translates to “health” and much like the toasting traditions of nearby European countries, is a way to wish good health and prosperity to your drinking buddies.

14. Cheers in Polish: Na Zdrowie

Pronounced: Nah zdrov-e-yay
Translation: “To health”

In Poland, there are lots of ways to raise your glass, but the most typical one is “Na zdrowie!” It translates to “to health” or “bless you”, making it a multipurpose toast. 

15. Cheers in Filipino: Tagay

Pronounced: Ta-gay
Translation: Drink

While there’s no direct translation for “cheers” in Tagalog, there are a few ways to encourage your drinking buddies to take a celebratory sip. You can say “tagay,” essentially meaning “drink up!” or “shot na!” to tell someone to take a “shot now.” In the Philippines, it’s not unusual for a group of people to pass around one communal glass that they refill, which is also called tagay. 

16. Cheers in Thai: Chon Gâew / ชนแก้ว

Pronounced: Chone gay-ew
Translation: Bump glasses

If you find yourself in Bangkok for the holidays, be sure to commit this phrase to memory. “Chon” translates to crash or knock against and “gâew” means glass, so the whole phrase is like saying “clink glasses.” Alternatively, you can say “chai-yoh” (ไชโย) which is more often used for special occasion toasts.