People Who Say “Cheers” Instead of “Goodbye”

Special note on the title: I figured that there must be an opposite of the word “greeting,” and it turns out it’s “valediction.” Instead of using a houty-touty word such as that, I’ve grouped everything into the serves-all “goodbye.” You’re welcome.

I saw some of the MTV Movie Awards tonight, and Johnny Depp, accepting Best Performance for Pirates of the Caribbean 2 (Piratey-Boogaloo), did the normal awards-show spiel after receiving a lengthy standing ovation from the audience. Nothing out of the ordinary… except, instead of ending his speech with “thanks,” “bye,” or even the ‘look at me, I’m a World traveller’ and I want you to know it, “Ciao,” he dropped this gem: “Cheers.” What is this world coming to. And that’s not a question. Given the wide variety of ways to say “goodbye” (even some that serve to combine it with a “thanks” aspect), he has to give the trendy, pretentious “cheers.”

Cheers, hippy

Let Johnny Depp serve as an example for the problems with the phrase, but his usage was no more egregious than any others’. I take exception with this expression for three reasons:
1) “Cheers” is a drinking-related saying. That’s fine, but this was an awards show, not a restaurant. It wasn’t even the Golden Globes which (obviously) serves alcohol. This is the biggest issue – it makes no sense.
2) It reeks of Eurotrash and, even worse, Americans who wish they were Eurotrash. You know these people – they refer to manual transmissions as “standard” and call elevators “lifts” just so you can make a weird face at them to which they respond by saying these exact words (every time): “I was in London, and that’s what they call them in London.”
3) I’d like to take credit for being part of the cusp of the expression “not so much.” In fact, my earliest documented utterance of the phrase was way back in July of 2004. I challenge anyone to beat that. I’m not claiming to be first, but I’d like to think I beat any of you seven reading this to the punch. How is this related to “cheers?” Well, tangentially at best. I guess I’m just a little bitter, and my lexicographic warning radar is going of like crazy about the soon-to-be “cheers” phenomenon. Consider this my warning to people who want to keep European lingo where it belongs.

People Who Say “Cheers” Instead of “Goodbye” get ZERO stars. The English language has hundreds of thousands of words, and provides myriad tools for making up words (such as “spamera” – n. a digital camera used to take pictures which will later be e-mailed to everyone the camera owner knows, but no one will look at. Usage: “Yeah, my mom is unfortunately bringing her spamera to my nephew’s pre-school graduation next weekend, so I’m definitely going to spend time familiarizing myself with the delete button in my e-mail program.”) Hmm. That’s actually a pretty good made-up word. Anyway. Lots of words, easy to make-up new ones. Does the bowel of the English language that is the British dialect really need to be given a colonic every time someone decides that he’s too cool for “bye” or “thanks?”

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69 responses to “People Who Say “Cheers” Instead of “Goodbye””

  1. haha most of you are idiots. Like someone up there commented, the word cheers is related to goodbye in German, “tschuess.” It is extremely common in England, and not everyone on the internet is American!

  2. Well, being that the author (me!) is American, I feel no compunction to represent everyone on the Internet. Just Americans who are sick of other Americans trying to sound European. To address your generalization with a generalization, I would assume that Europeans have no understanding of how maddening it is to see Americans act “European.” It’s gross. (the acting, not the European part)

    Thank you for commenting, though (really). It is interesting to hear what (actual) Europeans have to say about this.

  3. I have used “cheers” sometimes at the end of emails and occasionally at the end of a conversation. As a Canadian with relatively close associations to the U.K. – Grandmother and Uncle from Scotland who always confirmed their replies with “aye” instead of yes (at least my Uncle for sure) and other such colloquialisms of their birth land, I thought saying cheers was not such a stretch of cultural impingement of English language for a Canadian to use. Loved the reference to the German “tschus” (I work for a German Company and heard this salutation a hundred times a day… Thought they were copying the English by saying cheers… Who knew!). In any case, I feel that Canada has a much closer emotional and cultural connection to the U.K. than the USA (remember we fought with the U.K. Starting in 1939… Not 1941 and we still have the Queen on our money and the Union Jack on many of our Provincial flags and because of such I am going to continue to use the expression of cheers when it feels right for me and I refuse to be judged by those North American isolationist Pig Fucks who have their heads rammed up their ass so far they can see the backs of their teeth! Gee, I can’t believe I am writing any of this; I really don’t care about this subject in the least.

  4. Cheers Dan,

    Your post had me in stitches! 😀 Seriously, the problem some people here having with a simple, positive word which is not in any way offensive. Global issues like this almost make wars and pollution seem irrelevant. Well, ALMOST.

    FFS, get a grip you xenophobic uptight elitists/tight-assed hipsters/whatever you are :D. And you call people Eurotrash? ;D Sounds like someone’s having a bit of inferiority complex, eh?

    Cheers! (from Poland)

  5. @filius
    “Manual” – as in manual transmission- is derived from the Latin word for hand (i.e. you have to shift the transmission by hand). It is not a bastardization of anything.
    As for “cheers” as a comment section sign off, I agree with other posters here that it seems to imply “fuck off.” It usually shows up at the end of a flame off, or flame war, or whatever excessive Internet users call it. As in, “everyone has their own tastes in music, and just because you think a song sucks doesn’t mean everyone else should agree with you. Cheers!”

  6. If seeing ‘cheers’ bothers you, perhaps you should download the Word Replacer extension for your browser and have it replace ‘cheers’ with a more innocuous phrase such as ‘I’m a cunt.’

  7. I’m not entirely sure if the “I’m” in the word replaced text is me or the person saying cheers, but I assume it’s the person saying cheers. I approve!

  8. I feel so VALIDATED!!! I absolutely hate people who says “cheers” in their emails. It’s an absolute deal breaker. Even if I like everything about you, and we get along splendidly, the instant you sign off an email with “cheers”, it’s over. It’s really moot to argue whether it’s okay to say “cheers” or not. Think of it this way… if you fart, and the person next to you says, “Please don’t fart, it stinks”, would your response “No, I’m going to continue to fart, because I like it”? It’s just a simple matter of being considerate… many many many people absolutely HATE it… so stop it!!! Stop stinkin’ it up!!!

  9. Wow. Many of you people are pathetic. Know this; there is a 100% chance that YOU use a word that many other people think makes you a douchebag, asshole, dumbass, poser, elitist prick, and/or other social cancer. It’s a word. It’s nuanced and can mean different things to different people… like many, many words in the English language. The fact that many of you let a word like “cheers” wind you up so much, and make so many assumptions about the person using the word is laughable. Everyone wants to take an extreme position about everything these days and hate on anyone that does or thinks anything different from themselves and their little echo-chamber (social media). Is divisiveness really that cool? Do you really need that powerful feeling all the time that comes from trashing other people for their personalities?
    Get a fucking life.

    Fucking cheers,
    Eurotrash Patriot

  10. I take issue with this.

    Here you reference the use of “cheers” in the UK and somehow claim it has no use in the English language? Please. American English is a bastardized, despicable imitation of the language spoken across the pond. I’m sorry you’re offended by it. Your feelings are a testament to your own limitations.

    Your own limitations sir.


  11. To cheer or not to cheer…
    My personal list of opinions, for anyone who cares to read:
    1. I believe people have every right to use whatever expressions they choose .
    2. I believe some people cannot help but be bothered by some expressions and have every right to be annoyed for whatever reason. *That said, even if this is a venting page and the F word can at certain times be the perfect word to use, by using base expletives , in this situation, the users bring themselves far lower than any person trying to be upbeat, poser or not (as long as they are not trying to scam you)!

    Let’s intellectualize for a moment; since time began people and language have overlapped, adapted and evolved. In more recent times things become trendy and some trends stay and become a norm.
    I understand it might be like fingernails on a scratch board but just get through it and be responsible for your own actions!
    (it’s a struggle but definitely a worthwhile one)

  12. Oh yeah I totally agree with this! Once I was at a jackpot event where the prize was 10k. Then the dumbass who won it just stands up and says ”cheers” in the mic and that was it! It sounded totally ungrateful not even thanking anybody, what a stupid asshole.

  13. People seem to make this out to be culture appropriation. But in reality it is the melting pot of communal interactions… whether it is in regular communication to your multi-national neighbors, co-workers or the international business community a person is immersed in through work and or travel.

    Like communicable diseases, the more you interact, with those of a different way, the more you take back with you. Good or Bad…
    In this case, it is a small piece of good. It shows that one is willing to bend and flex in their expansion of their vocabulary and willingness to integrate cultures… and well, just make new friends on the other side of the pond. 😉

    You find the more you interact with the world community, the more you take on to elevate your integration and understanding of cultures.

    An in the end, ‘Cheers’ is nothing more than a friendly, informal way to say fare well and good bye… but I dare say it is far better than, “bye bye”. That colloquialism annoys me to no end.

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