"Let's cheers": is that a thing?
April 14, 2020 4:57 PM   Subscribe

I have always thought of "Cheers!", in a drinking context, as the word/exclamation you give after someone gives a toast. Is it also something people typically use as a verb to indicate they're going to drink to, or honor through drinking, something or someone, by saying "Let's cheers to X" or "Let's cheers X"?

My friend will say "Let's cheers!" or "Let's cheers to ..." (always with the "Let's" first) where I would normally say something like "A toast to..." or "Let's toast to...". Or I would more likely just give a toast - "Here's to..." before drinking. And then expect people, if they're the type, to say "Cheers". Is their way a typical way that people use the word "cheers" that I've missed?

And a social question: if this isn't typical, is this the sort of thing you tell your good friend so other people don't wonder about how they (I'll say it) cheers?
posted by mistersix to Society & Culture (29 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
 
I have never heard this usage. I probably wouldn't correct someone because I don't want to be That Guy (and I often am That Guy).
posted by adamrice at 5:01 PM on April 14, 2020 [7 favorites]


Well, not quite. I think your friend is verbing a noun. So, "Cheers!" is an exclamation, and sometimes we might expand the sentence: "Cheers to you, friend!"

It sounds like your friend is doing the thing where they make a noun into a verb, like how "Let's get lunch" became "Let's lunch." So your friend is saying "Let's say cheers to..." or "Let's toast to..."

Maybe your friend is just ahead of the pack in this shift in usage?
posted by bluedaisy at 5:02 PM on April 14, 2020


I’m very familiar with this in the context of small children saying it because they think the action is fun, and they assume it’s called “cheers” or “cheersing” because people say cheers when they do it.
posted by ocherdraco at 5:03 PM on April 14, 2020 [9 favorites]


That’s what my toddler says. I’ve never heard a grownup say that. Is this friend a little young and inexperienced?
posted by SaltySalticid at 5:04 PM on April 14, 2020 [1 favorite]


in 2004 my friend graduated from her PhD program, and I taught my toddler to raise his sippy cup in a toast while hollering "Cheers!" We called this activity "cheers-ing." That kid is now 17. I agree she's verbing a noun. I've used it that way since 2004. That toddler is now 17. He also used the word "versing" to mean fighting an opponent in a game when he was 5 or so. I think cheers is a verb now and the Zoomers are to blame.
posted by selfmedicating at 5:06 PM on April 14, 2020 [1 favorite]


This is a thing some people say nowadays. I’m not sure where it started - it seems like younger people do it more and it reads a little “basic” but it’s definitely a thing. I remember reading someone ranting about how people were saying this on some reality show like The Bachelor.
posted by mskyle at 5:06 PM on April 14, 2020 [10 favorites]


Cheers to %person or %thing but not Let's cheers to. Let's toast to %person or %thing sounds okay. It's not really wrong, just not a typical usage.
posted by theora55 at 5:08 PM on April 14, 2020


Yes, it’s a thing. Language evolves.

And a social question: if this isn't typical, is this the sort of thing you tell your good friend so other people don't wonder about how they (I'll say it) cheers?

Please don’t police your friend’s language. You will seem overbearing and rude.
posted by His thoughts were red thoughts at 5:40 PM on April 14, 2020 [7 favorites]


I say it to my three-year-old. She probably started it. But it works.

I don't remember where I heard this, but somebody once told me that if the point of communication is to be understood, so if you understand what they're saying, it's not incorrect. I think everyone understands what a verb "cheers" means.
posted by kevinbelt at 5:41 PM on April 14, 2020


I've heard it occasionally, it sounds strange to me and sets my teeth on edge a bit, but I chalk that up to the prescriptivist streak I try to keep a lid on, and I let it go. I've heard it enough that it's clearly a reasonably accepted usage and no one is served well by me trying to correct a thing that doesn't need correction.
posted by Stacey at 5:45 PM on April 14, 2020 [1 favorite]


I think the first option you presented is "right," but I have heard the second used by lots and lots of people and I don't mind it.
posted by nuclear_soup at 5:50 PM on April 14, 2020


I first started hearing this on “The Bachelor”, maybe about a decade ago. Maybe my hatewatching is part of why I absolutely cannot stand this usage, but I’ve never heard anyone outside of reality shows say it.
posted by Fuego at 6:14 PM on April 14, 2020 [1 favorite]


I have heard it mostly while drinking with people whose first language isn't English, and the key here is 'drinking with people', where grammatic agreement and correct idiom isn't really first priority
posted by Fiasco da Gama at 6:15 PM on April 14, 2020


I have heard “let’s cheers” numerous times in the last 5-8 years, mostly from younger coworkers who are now in their mid30s. We’re seeing language evolve, which is pretty cool.
posted by kimberussell at 6:18 PM on April 14, 2020 [1 favorite]


I can't swear that I've heard that construction in the wild, but I've definitely encountered "cheers" verbed into "cheersing," so it would strike me as a little mannered but not notably off.
posted by eponym at 6:38 PM on April 14, 2020


I'm in my mid 30s, and I definitely say this (and know others who do too)... and didn't realize it was so grating until I read this question? Eek.
posted by Paper rabies at 6:38 PM on April 14, 2020 [4 favorites]


Yep, I've heard this a lot and probably say it myself. It's probably still wrong per the dictionary, but very common and I would say getting more so. Also mid-30s.
posted by brainmouse at 6:40 PM on April 14, 2020 [2 favorites]


Let’s cheers to language evolving!
posted by mistersix at 7:05 PM on April 14, 2020 [17 favorites]


I'm in my early 30s and this usage doesn't sound weird to me, so maybe I would say it too.

Please don't correct people's language where it is perfectly clear what they are trying to say, or where there's nothing useful to be learned by anyone from the correction. I think that's more annoying than using Cheers as a verb.
posted by kinddieserzeit at 7:32 PM on April 14, 2020


I've heard it a few times. I definitely associate it with people who learn most of their vocabulary from TV, but I'm a snooty old curmudgeon who has specific glassware for different cordials, so I'm pretty sure my opinion on the subject is meaningless.
posted by aspersioncast at 7:48 PM on April 14, 2020


I’ve heard it a lot for a long time. I’m 40 and I live in Brooklyn and my friends aren’t toddlers or Bachelorettes.

The answer to your social question is a resounding no. Super pompous to correct your friend’s speech, and much more of a social breach than using “basic” or incorrect speech.
posted by kapers at 8:23 PM on April 14, 2020


I’ve heard it a lot for a long time. I’m 40 and I live in Brooklyn and my friends aren’t toddlers or Bachelorettes.

Same here. I've always used it knowing it wasn't proper grammar, but I use a lot of euphemisms, slang, curses, puns, metaphors, descriptive sounds, gestures etc in my spoken language. I fit this into that.
posted by Toddles at 11:12 PM on April 14, 2020


I think this is a very American thing. In most parts of the UK, "cheers" is used as a word for "thanks" (though in parts of the North adults keep saying "ta", which sounds kind of childish to many Southerners). Some people will say "cheers to that" or "cheers for that" as a way of disambiguating which meaning of the salute they're using.
posted by rum-soaked space hobo at 12:41 AM on April 15, 2020 [2 favorites]


It might have originated from a non-native speaker? For instance, in Dutch "Cheers!" is "Proost!" and people have used "Laten we proosten op..." (Let's cheers to) for ages.
posted by Ms. Next at 3:22 AM on April 15, 2020


It might have originated from a non-native speaker?
My first guess from seeing the phrase here (for the first time today) was that it originated from Japanese English, where let's is all over the place as a general imperative marker. But I guess, from the examples in popular culture given here, if that was the source it was a long time ago.
posted by dfan at 5:36 AM on April 15, 2020


Have only heard it from people who did not speak English as a first language - Germans and Swiss in particular, which I assume is a direct translation from “prosten”.
posted by tinkletown at 8:07 AM on April 15, 2020


Early 30s coastal urban yuppie with well-educated friends. We definitely say it. Also “Should we cheers?” “When you cheers, always make eye contact.” and “Oh, we forgot to cheers!” I definitely think of this as a verb. Next time I’ll start a conversation about it, though!
posted by amaire at 8:14 AM on April 15, 2020


Definitely a thing in the UK (the drinking version not just the thank you version). I’m in my late 30s and have heard it all my life.
posted by atlantica at 9:17 AM on April 15, 2020


For whatever it's worth, here are a few earlier examples of people using the term "cheers-ing":

This Grubstreet article from 2013
This english.stackexchange question from 2012
This forum post from 2011
This Wired article fro 2008
This AskMe answer from 2008
This post on phrases.org.uk from 2003 (though they put it in quotes)

From my casual googling, it seems that this usage really started to hit its stride sometime in the 2008-2010 timeframe. I haven't really been able to find substantial earlier references.
posted by mhum at 11:44 AM on April 15, 2020 [1 favorite]


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