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Why Do We Clink Glasses To Toast?

It’s a common tradition to raise a glass and say “cheers” before drinking with friends, but why do we do it? Keep reading to find out.

By Cookist

When people drink with friends, it is customary to make a toast. In this article we shall be examining the origin of the toast, why it happens, and some of the different languages in which "cheers" is spoken.

"Cheers" Has French Origins


“Cheers” was coined from the old French word chiere which meant “face” or “head.” In the 18th century, it meant “gladness,” and was used as a way of expressing encouragement.

These days, “cheers,” is more symbolic than anything else but it remains a simple way of toasting with the wish of good cheer and good health to friends.

The Origin Of Toasting 


The term toast, means drinking to one’s health and it comes from the literal practice of dropping a piece of toast in your drink.

It was common practice in the 16th century to add a piece of scorched or spiced toast to wine. This was done so the bread could soak up some of the acidity and improve flavor in poor wine.

By the 18th century, the term toast had meant a person honored by the toast, instead of an actual floating piece of bread.

Why People Clink Glasses


This is a custom that has been practiced for centuries. Below are some of the reasons:

  • Enhance the Senses: It is believed that clinking glasses was done during toasts, because sound contributed to pleasing all five senses, which completes the drinking experience.
  • Warding Off Evil: In the Medieval period, glasses were clinked and people cheered loudly to keep any demons or evil spirits away. It was also believed that clinking glasses spilled some drink on the floor, leaving some for the bad spirits so they would leave you alone.
  • Avoid Poisoning: Some speculate toasting was a way to avoid getting poisoned. In the early days, it was believed that if glasses were filled to the brim and clinked hard, a bit of alcohol from each glass would pour into the other. Mixing drinks and then taking a sip was a gesture that proved the drinks were safe.
  • For the Gods: There are those who believe tasting came from sacrificial libations that saw a sacred liquid (blood or wine) offered to the gods in exchange for a wish, or a prayer for health.


The toast means the same thing all over the world and saying cheers will probably remain a tradition for as long as people can remember history.

Which of the origins of toasting do you think is the real one?

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