9 Ways to Say Cheers in German: Toasts for Every Event

Raising a glass and saying “cheers” is a beloved tradition in German-speaking countries. Toasting serves as a way to celebrate special occasions, honor achievements, and strengthen bonds among friends and family.

Here’s a video from Memrise on how to say cheers in German:

Germans have a long-standing love affair with beer, with the first brew dating back to the 8th century. Beer festivals like Oktoberfest attract millions of visitors every year.

Toasting is not only a social custom but also a part of German etiquette. It is considered impolite to start drinking before proposing a toast, and maintaining eye contact while clinking glasses is essential to avoid seven years of bad luck, according to popular belief.

When and where to say cheers in German: a toasting etiquette guide

Germans use toasting and saying “cheers” (prost) in different settings, from casual events to formal celebrations.

These are just some of the most common occasions where you might hear a German toast:

  1. Birthdays and anniversaries
  2. Weddings and engagements
  3. New Year’s Eve and other holidays
  4. Graduations and job promotions
  5. Retirement parties
  6. Welcoming a new home or business
  7. Oktoberfest and other beer festivals
  8. Family reunions and get-togethers
  9. Sporting events and team victories
  10. Farewells and sendoffs

Toasting is an integral part of German drinking culture, and knowing the appropriate ways to say “cheers” in German can help you blend into the local traditions and customs. Let’s check 9 alternatives immediately!

GermanEnglishUse Case
Cheers!All-purpose, informal or formal settings
Zum Wohl!
To the well-being!Formal settings, wishing health and prosperity
May it be for the good!Informal gatherings with friends or family
Auf deine/Ihre Gesundheit!
To your health!Birthdays or special occasions, wishing good health
Auf das Wohl!
To well-being and prosperity!Formal settings, corporate events, business celebrations
Einen herzhaften Trunk!
A hearty drink!Informal, casual gatherings with close friends or family
Hoch sollen sie leben!
May they live high!Weddings, anniversaries, honoring individuals or groups
Auf eine gute Zukunft!
To a good future!Graduations, new beginnings, celebrating achievements
Auf eine glückliche Ehe!
To a happy marriage!Weddings, wishing newlyweds marital bliss

1. Prost! – Cheers!

Effortless Answers

Prost! is the simplest and most common way to say cheers in German. It’s an all-purpose toast that can be used in any informal or formal setting.

  • Prost! Auf eine tolle Nacht! (Cheers! To a great night!)

The origins of “prost” are uncertain, but it’s believed to derive from the Latin phrase “pro sit,” meaning “may it be for the good.” Over time, it has become the go-to term for Germans when raising a glass and clinking with friends or family.

2. Zum Wohl! – To the well-being!

Literally meaning “to the well-being”, zum Wohl is a popular toast that expresses good wishes for the health and prosperity of the person or people being toasted.

  • Zum Wohl, meine Freunde! (To the well-being, my friends!)

This toast is often used in more formal settings, such as weddings, anniversaries, or business celebrations, where the occasion calls for a touch of elegance.

3. Prosit! – May it be for the good!

Prosite is a variation of “prost“, so it’s derived from the Latin phrase “pro sit” just like Prost!

It’s a common way to say “cheers” in German, especially in informal gatherings among friends or family.

  • Prosit, auf einen schönen Abend! (May it be for the good, to a beautiful evening!)

4. Auf deine/Ihre Gesundheit! – To your health!

Translating to “to your health,” auf deine/Ihre Gesundheit is a common toast used when wishing good health to someone, especially on their birthday or other special occasions.

  • Auf deine Gesundheit, lieber Vater! (To your health, dear father!)

This toast is a heartfelt way to show appreciation and care for the person being toasted, making it a popular choice for family gatherings.

5. Auf das Wohl! – To well-being and prosperity!

Similar to “zum Wohl,” auf das Wohl is a toast that wishes well-being and prosperity to the person or group being toasted. It’s a more formal variation that adds a touch of sophistication to the occasion.

  • Auf das Wohl unseres Unternehmens! (To the well-being of our company!)

This toast is often heard at corporate events, business celebrations, or other professional settings where a more polished expression is appropriate.

6. Einen herzhaften Trunk! – A hearty drink!

Literally meaning “a hearty drink,” einen herzhaften Trunk is an informal toast used among close friends or family. It’s a lighthearted way to kick off a drinking session or celebrate a casual occasion.

  • Einen herzhaften Trunk, Jungs! (A hearty drink, boys!)

This toast sets the tone for a relaxed and enjoyable time.

7. Hoch sollen sie leben! – May they live high!

Translating to “may they live high,” hoch sollen sie Leben is a traditional toast used to honor someone or a group, wishing them a long and prosperous life.

  • Hoch sollen sie leben, die Braut und der Bräutigam! (May they live high, the bride and groom!)

This toast is commonly heard at weddings, anniversaries, or other celebratory events where the focus is on honoring and congratulating the individuals being toasted.

8. Auf eine gute Zukunft! – To a good future!

Meaning “to a good future,” auf eine gute Zukunft is a toast commonly used when celebrating achievements or new beginnings, such as a graduation or a new job.

  • Auf eine gute Zukunft, liebe Absolventen! (To a good future, dear graduates!)

This toast expresses hope and optimism for the future, making it a great choice for occasions that mark a new chapter or milestone in someone’s life.

9. Auf eine glückliche Ehe! – To a happy marriage!

Literally translating to “to a happy marriage,” auf eine glückliche Ehe is a standard toast at German weddings, wishing the newlyweds a lifetime of marital bliss.

  • Auf eine glückliche Ehe und eine wundervolle Zukunft zusammen! (To a happy marriage and a wonderful future together!)

This toast is a heartfelt way to celebrate the union of two people and express well-wishes for their journey ahead as a married couple.

Practice saying cheers in German with these exercises

Fill in the blanks with the correct German words or phrases based on the context provided.

This is just part of the exercise for this blog post. Do you want the whole practice worksheet? Sign up now to get access!

Learn more about the German drinking culture and drinking etiquette with Conversation Based Chunking

Learning to say cheers in German is important if you want to get to know the German drinking culture and drinking etiquette.

Conversation Based Chunking method is an effective way to learn and retain the expressions and chunks mentioned in this article. If you see and use these terms in realistic conversational contexts, you’ll naturally associate each toast with its appropriate use case.

The chunking method also helps you acquire language in manageable, meaningful chunks. Sign up now and get your German Conversation Based Chunking Guide!

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