Sláinte (SLAHN-chə) is a word literally translating as "health" and is commonly used as a drinking toast in Ireland, Scotland and the Isle of Man.
Variations of this toast exist, it can for example be expanded to sláinte mhaith "good health" in Irish (mhaith being the lenited form of maith "good").
The basic Scottish Gaelic equivalent is slàinte (mhath) (same meaning) to which the normal response is do dheagh shlàinte "your good health". There are other variations such as:
- air do shlàinte "on your health!" with the response slàinte agad-sa "health at yourself!"
- slàinte mhòr "great health" which is also used as a Jacobite toast with the alternative meaning of "health to Marion", Marion (Gaelic Mòr) being a Jacobite code name for Prince Charles Edward Stuart.
The Manx Gaelic form is slaynt (vie) or shoh slaynt. Alternatively, corp slaynt "healthy body" is also used in Manx.
The toast is mispronounced by non-native speakers in various ways, most commonly with excessive voicing as /ˈzlɑːndʒ/ (see the Pronunciation box on this page for a guide to the correct pronunciation).
The word is an abstract noun derived from the Old Irish adjective slán "whole, healthy" plus the Old Irish suffix tu, resulting in slántu "health" and eventually Middle Irish sláinte. The root slán is derived from the Indo-European root *slā- "advantageous" and linked to words like German selig "blessed" and the Latin salus "health".
In modern Romance languages, words descended from the Latin word salus (such as salute in Italian, salud in Spanish, saúde in Portuguese or santé in French) are similarly used as a toast.
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