\""Slainte"

"Slainte" is the thing to say before you take the first sip of your pint of Guinness. Photo by: Sasko Lazarov / Photocall Ireland

The meaning behind "Sláinte"

\""Slainte"

"Slainte" is the thing to say before you take the first sip of your pint of Guinness. Photo by: Sasko Lazarov / Photocall Ireland

Sláinte is the most used Irish expression in America, our reader survey discovered.

Sláinte, meaning 'Good Health,' is an ancient Irish expression that derives from the word slán, meaning safe.

It is used in different contexts. For example, when downing a pint of Guinness you say 'Sláinte' before you begin to drink.

There are many other expressions that use slainte such as 'Is fearr an tsláinte ná na táinte" (health is better than wealth).

Another expression is 'Go dte tú slán" (may you go safe), which is what you say when someone is leaving on a journey.

'Sláinte na bhfear' (Good health to the men) is another derivative, which is used when drinking in the company of men.

'Sláinte na mbean' is the opposite - for when drinking with women!

Slán is another Gaelic term that sounds like sláinte, but has a different meaning. It means goodbye.

'Slán go deo' means 'goodbye for ever'.

*Originally published in February 2014. 

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