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Sláinte or slàinte (About this sound pronunciation  SLAHN-chə) is a word literally translating as "health"[1] in several Gaelic languages and is commonly used as a drinking toast in Ireland and Scotland.

The toast is mispronounced by non-native speakers in various ways, most commonly[citation needed] with excessive voicing as /ˈzlɑːn/ (see the Pronunciation box on this page for a guide to the correct pronunciation).


Irish Gaelge: sláinte (mhaith) [slɑːnʲtʲə wah][2]
Scots Gaelic: slàinte (mhath) [s̪lˠ̪aːɲtʲʰə va]
Scots Gaelic: do dheagh shlàinte [t̪ə ʝoː lˠ̪aːɲtʲʰə]
Scots Gaelic: slàinte mhòr [s̪lˠ̪ɑːɲtʲʰə voːɾ]
Manx Gaelic: slaynt vie [slent vaːi][3]
Manx Gaelic: corp slaynt [koɾp slent][3]
Sláinte MhathBonne santé

Sláinte is the basic form in Irish Gaelic. Variations of this toast include sláinte mhaith "good health" in Irish Gaelic (mhaith being the lenited form of maith "good"). In Irish Gaelic, the response to sláinte is sláinte agad-sa, which translates "to your health as well".

The basic Scottish Gaelic equivalent is slàinte (mhath), with the same meaning, to which the normal response is do dheagh shlàinte "your good health".[4] There are other variations such as:

  • air do shlàinte "on your health!" with the response slàinte agad-sa "health at yourself!"[5]
  • slàinte mhòr "great health" which is also used as a Jacobite toast with the alternative meaning of "health to Marion", Marion (Mòr) being a Jacobite code name for Prince Charles Edward Stuart.[6]

The Manx Gaelic form is slaynt (vie)[7] or shoh slaynt.[8] Alternatively, corp slaynt "healthy body" is also used in Manx.[3]


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.[9][10] 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".[11]

In some modern Romance languages, words descended from the Latin word salus (such as salute in Italian, salut in Catalan and Romanian, salud in Spanish) are similarly used as a toast. (However, sănătate in Romanian, santat in Occitan and santé in French are rather from Latin sanitas "health.")


  1. ^ Ó Dónaill Foclóir Gaeilge–Béarla An Gúm, Dublin 1977, reprinted 1992 ISBN 1-85791-037-0
  2. ^ Foclóir Póca An Gúm 1992
  3. ^ a b c Broderick, G. A Handbook of Late Spoken Manx Niemeyer (1984) ISBN 3-484-42904-6
  4. ^ Ó Maolalaigh, R. Scottish Gaelic in three months Hugo Language Books, 1996 ISBN 0-85285-234-7
  5. ^ Dwelly, E. Faclair Gàidhlig gu Beurla le Dealbhan / The Illustrated [Scottish] Gaelic–English Dictionary 4th edition 1941
  6. ^ "Lady Traquair's Brew" Glasgow Caledonian University: Centre for Political Song. Retrieved 9 January 2010.
  7. ^ Gunn, M. Da Mihi Manum Everson Gunn Teo., Dublin 1994 ISBN 1-899082-00-X
  8. ^ Morrison, S. Manx Fairy Tales (reprint) 2002 ISBN 1-873120-01-X
  9. ^ MacBain, A. (1911) An Etymological Dictionary of the Gaelic Language Stirling Eneas MacKay, 1982 edition by Gairm ISBN 0-901771-68-6
  10. ^ Oftedal, M. (1956) The Gaelic of Leurbost. Oslo. Norsk Tidskrift for Sprogvidenskap.
  11. ^ Pokorny, J. Indogermanisches etymologisches Wörterbuch Online Edition [1] retrieved 8 January 2010