Cin cin – How to toast in Italian (meaning of chin chin)

Chin chin meaning in Italian

What does chin chin mean? Well, Italians say it only on one occasion.

If you’ve heard it before, you’ve probably figured it out: chin chin is the Italian way of saying cheers.

Every culture has its own: sláinte, à la santé, prost, kampai… and they’re all easy to learn – you just need to have a night out with some locals.

But if you don’t want to go unprepared for your next party in Italy, this post is for you.

Here’s the meaning of chin chin and all the other Italian toasts!

Why do Italians say Chin Chin

Why do Italians say chin chin?

Chin Chin seems to derive from an ancient Cantonese greeting (qǐng qǐng – 请请). This expression became popular among European merchants, who transcribed it as chin chin.

The Italians liked it a lot because it reminded them of the sound of clinking glasses, and they adopted it as a toast.

Now, as you may know, the Italian pronunciation of the letter C is different from ours. That’s why, in Italy and France, chin chin is actually spelled cin cin.

Cin cin, e che questo sia il primo di tanti successi per te!

Cheers, and may this be the first of many achievements for you!

how to make toasts in Italian

Fare un brindisi: how to make a toast in Italian

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Before adopting cin cin, Italians had other ways to toast, which derived mostly from Latin. These toasts are:

  • alla tua” / “alla tua salute“, which both mean “to your health“. Now remember: Italians differentiate the second person singular from the second person plural. So, if you’re toasting with more than one person, these expressions turn into “alla vostra” / “alla vostra salute
  • prosit, a Latin word that could be translated as: “may this be helpful”, and is now meant as a generic good fortune wish.

Che ne dici, ci facciamo il bicchiere della staffa? Alla tua!

What do you say, shall we have one for the road? Cheers!

translate chin chin from Italian to english

Learn while having fun

Even though the traditional way of toasting consists in simply letting the glasses touch, every Italian region has its own rules.

In some, you have to maintain eye contact. In others, you have to put the glass back on the table before drinking. How can you know which is the correct way to do it?

Well, it looks like your only way to learn is to party a lot. After all, we always say that practice makes perfect. What could be better than that?

E tu, how do you toast in your country? Let me know in the comments 🙂

Still translating in your head? Wanna speak Italian for real? Check out Stefano's courses to think directly in Italian and become fluent fast!

FAQs on Cin cin – How to toast in Italian (meaning of chin chin)

Who says Chin Chin for cheers?

Italians exclaim "Cin-cin!" as they lift and clink their glasses in a toast while looking each other in the eyes. It is also used in France and sometimes Britain.

What is the origin of the phrase Chin Chin?

Chin Chin appears to be a shortened version of the Cantonese greeting "qing qing." European businessmen adopted this word and transposed it as "chin chin."

Is Chin Chin a greeting?

The Italian word for "cheers" is "chin chin," as you may have guessed if you've heard it before.


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