How Do They Say Cheers in Scotland

How Do They Say Cheers in Scotland?

When it comes to raising a glass and toasting in Scotland, there are a few different phrases you might hear. Scotland, known for its rich history, vibrant culture, and stunning landscapes, also has its own unique way of saying “cheers.” Whether you’re visiting the country or simply curious about Scottish customs, this article will explore the various ways Scots toast and celebrate with a drink in hand.

1. Slàinte mhath (pronounced slan-ge-var): This is the most common way to say cheers in Scotland. The phrase originates from Scottish Gaelic and translates to “good health.” It is often used when toasting with a glass of whisky, Scotland’s national drink. The pronunciation may vary slightly depending on the region, but it is universally understood throughout the country.

2. Bottoms up: Although not exclusive to Scotland, the phrase “bottoms up” is often used when encouraging others to finish their drink in one go. It signifies a light-hearted and jovial atmosphere, often accompanied laughter and camaraderie. So, if you find yourself in a Scottish pub and someone says “bottoms up,” don’t hesitate to join in on the fun.

3. Here’s tae ye: Another toast you might hear in Scotland is “here’s tae ye.” This phrase is more informal and is often used among friends and family. It is a way of expressing well-wishes and goodwill towards the person you are toasting. The phrase is a shortened version of “here’s to you,” reflecting the Scottish dialect.

4. Slàinte mhath agad-sa (pronounced slan-ge-var a-guts-ah): This is a variation of the traditional Gaelic toast, Slàinte mhath. The addition of “agad-sa” means “to you” in Scottish Gaelic. It is used to specifically address the person you are toasting, making it more personal and heartfelt. This toast is often used during special occasions or when raising a glass to honor someone’s achievements.

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5. Guid gear comes in sma’ bulk: This is not a common toast in Scotland but deserves a mention due to its historical significance. It translates to “good gear comes in small bulk” and is attributed to 16th-century Scottish poet, Alexander Montgomerie. The phrase reflects the Scottish appreciation for quality over quantity, emphasizing the value of things that may be small in appearance but hold great worth.


Q: Are there any specific rules or customs I should be aware of when toasting in Scotland?
A: When toasting in Scotland, it’s customary to maintain eye contact with the person you are toasting. This shows respect and sincerity. Also, it is polite to wait for everyone to receive their drinks before raising your glass for a toast.

Q: Can I say “cheers” instead of using the Scottish phrases?
A: While saying “cheers” is understood in Scotland, using the traditional Scottish toasts can help you immerse yourself in the local culture and show appreciation for their customs.

Q: Are there any traditional Scottish drinks I should try when toasting?
A: Whisky is undoubtedly the most iconic Scottish drink, and trying different varieties can be a delightful experience. However, Scotland also offers a range of beers, ales, and ciders that are worth exploring.

Q: Are there any superstitions associated with toasting in Scotland?
A: Scots are known to be superstitious, and there are a few beliefs around toasting. It is considered bad luck to toast with an empty glass, as it implies a lack of generosity. Additionally, it is customary to clink glasses when toasting, as it is believed to ward off evil spirits.

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In conclusion, Scotland has its own unique way of saying cheers, reflecting its rich history and cultural traditions. From the traditional Gaelic toast of “Slàinte mhath” to the more informal phrases like “here’s tae ye,” each toast carries its own meaning and significance. So, the next time you find yourself in Scotland, raise your glass and toast in the true Scottish spirit. Slàinte mhath!

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