🇫🇷✨Best French Secret & Etiquette: Why do we say ''tchin-tchin'' when we toast in France?

Updated: Sep 7

If there is one thing you have to know about the French is their Apéro, short for apéritif. It is sacred in France.

Get into the French LifeStyle: One hour or so before dinner, it's time for Frenchies to unwind over a glass of wine, beer, champagne, or cocktail (or two) and a few snacks. It's not about getting drunk: it's about spending time together and preparing your palate for the meal to follow.

This is the time with friends or family when it's customary to toast.

We say « Santé! » (which means to your Health, like Salud in Spanish) or « tchin-tchin ».

The French say "tchin-tchin" when they toast, drinking Champagne!

And in English we say "cheers!"

These are the most common formulas. We have all used these expressions many times before, but do you know why?


Toasting originally came from an old practice during the Middle Ages. And it was precisely at this time that this famous expression "tchin-tchin" originated. Indeed, it was necessary to knock the wine glasses together, so that the liquid passed from one goblet to another. This ensured that the beverages had not been poisoned by those seated at the neighboring table.

The expression tchin-tchin would have appeared in relation to the tinkling sound.

This word was used to mean that everyone had to toast with the other, in order to prove that the drink was safe to consume. Thus, the first drinker knocked his jug against that of his companion, and the second had to return the same courtesy! That's why we say "tchin-tchin" when we toast.

Another interesting story is about a contingent of French soldiers that had been sent to China in 1900, to help the central power. There, fighters heard locals say "tsing, tsing" (pronounced "tchin tchin") during the festivities. This phrase meant "please", and was a way of inviting other guests to drink.

Intrigued by the amusing sound, the French soldiers then copied this habit, using this formula phonet