Cin cin! How to Toast in Italian (meaning of chin chin)

Key Takeaways

Get ready to clink glasses like a true Italian! 🥂 Dive into the charming world of Italian toasts and learn the cultural quirks behind saying cin cin. From ancient origins to regional nuances, you’ll be toasting like a local in no time!

  • Discover the Origins: Find out how cin cin links back to a Cantonese greeting and why Italians fell in love with the sound of clinking glasses. 🍷
  • Italian Pronunciation: Learn why Italians spell it cin cin and not “chin chin” – it’s all about that authentic Italian pronunciation! 🇮🇹
  • Traditional Toasts: Go beyond cin cin with classic Italian toasts like alla tua salute for that old-world charm. 🍻
  • Regional Rules: Every Italian region has its toasting etiquette – from eye contact to glass placement, be in the know! 👀🍾
  • Practice Makes Perfect: Embrace the Italian saying and learn by doing – party with the locals and perfect your toasting game! 🎉

Quick facts

What does "chin chin" mean in Italian culture?

"Chin chin" means "cheers" in Italian and is used during toasts.

Where does the Italian "chin chin" originate from?

It originates from the Cantonese greeting "qǐng qǐng," which European merchants popularized.

How did Italians adapt the Cantonese greeting?

Italians liked the sound similarity to clinking glasses and adopted it as "cin cin."

What is the difference in pronunciation of "chin chin" in Italy?

Italians spell it "cin cin," reflecting their pronunciation of the letter C.

What are other traditional Italian toasts besides "cin cin"?

Traditional toasts include "alla tua," "alla tua salute," and "prosit."

How do Italians differentiate toasts for different audiences?

Italians use "alla tua" for one person and "alla vostra" for multiple people.

What does the Latin word "prosit" mean in toasts?

"Prosit" means "may this be helpful," and is a wish for good fortune.

What is a common Italian toast for a final drink of the night?

Italians might say "ci facciamo il bicchiere della staffa," meaning "one for the road."

Are there regional variations in how Italians toast?

Yes, some regions require eye contact, while others need the glass placed back on the table before drinking.

How can one learn the correct way to toast in Italy?

The best way is to party and observe local customs, as practice makes perfect.

My Thoughts

Why do Italians say cin cin?

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!


Fare un brindisi: How to Make a Toast in Italian?

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!

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Toast Like an Italian

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?

Free Guide
How to Learn Languages Fast

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 🙂

Learn useful ways to say “Congratulations”‘ in Italian.

Test your knowledge in 10 quick questions


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.

Italian word of the day
Non capivo più niente dal sonno.
I was so tired that I couldn’t think.
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