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.”

euro
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 what at 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?”

61 Replies to “People Who Say “Cheers” Instead of “Goodbye””

  1. Its so weird tht in us/canada pple hev a prob wit ‘cheers’. No matter if its used correctly or not but wit all the swearin that goes on pple hev a prob wit ‘cheers’. SERIOUSLY!

  2. I use “cheers” literally dozens of times a day. I prefer it over “goodbye” and “later” but maybe not as much as “Yipee-Ki-Yay-Motherfucker” which just never seems to flow naturally into conversation.

    I’m OK with this. Unlike Super-Mario, I’m don’t need an excess amount of stars to feel invincible — that’s where my pretentiousness (and small arms collection) come into play.

    [insert smiley emoticon]

    Cheers,
    Rick

  3. Cheers insead of thanks is very annoying. In Canada here, if someone uses cheers over thanks, they are likely:

    Young, “alternative”, pro hemp, heavy pot smoker, of less than average intelligence, unaware that the phrase is annoying and unable to understand why, unaware we are not in the United Kingdom, and that cheers should be reserved for a toast right before you clang your glasses together.

    A girl at the local gas station uses cheers all day long – I like to hang around the store a bit and watch as people react sometimes; the best was the old farmer who said “did I just have a drink and not know it?”

  4. Its amazing how fast its spread! A few years ago a South African accountant working for me here in the U.S. always said it, and I’d never heard it — or at least noticed it before. I moved to another state, and got in the habit of using it, but mostly just in email/online. Then in the last year I’ve started hearing it more and more, since its mostly from people I regularly deal with. I thought maybe they had gotten infected from me. But it sounds like its a nationwide phenomenon? I ain’t that popular! So I guess I likely had little to do with it spreading around here. Sounds like a nationwide meme.

    Guess I’ll kick the habit then!

  5. Normal person: “Hey Bob, thanks for that report you sent me the other day, really helped a lot”

    Eurotrash wannabe: “Oy cheers mate”

    Normal person: “FUCK YOU EUROTRASH WANNABE RETARDED CHEERS-SAYING ASSHOLE”

    Eurotrash wannabe: “cheers mate”

    Normal person: “DIE MOTHERFUCKER DIEEEEEE”

    **eurotrash wannabe motherfucker dies shortly thereafter in a horrible lift accident**

  6. A quick point before the assumed master of the English language and all things related to saying good bye edits the blog – there are in fact hundreds of thousands of words in the English language.

    There – I win.

    Up with all things European and down all things American

    Cheers!

  7. How odd – the article seems to say “hundreds of thousands.” It’s too bad I’m not the type that would go back and correct something I had wrong on an earlier draft. A real shame that I’m not the type of person to do such a thing.

  8. The Post made by a Mr. Kevin was in fact added after an edit to the “English Language” comment. Dan Clearly Wins, now get me some little ice.

  9. In Canada I’ve noticed A LOT people in the guitar scene saying “cheers”, I guess it’s a British thing since a lot of great guitarist came from there and they use it over there in Britain? Well personally I think when someone uses the word “cheers” they seem to be trying to be something their not (posers) unless you come from a region where “cheers” is a commonly used word. But if your in Canada I don’t think you should use it, just say goodbye. And cheers sounds gay anyway.

  10. It’s a multi-purpose word you ignorant close minded feeble witted imbeciles. To treat it like it’s an iniquitous phrase is ridiculous. Spamera is a good a made up word? One of your lemmings characterized people who use the phrase cheers as displaying less intelligence, and you want to argue that spamera is a good word. If its a gay sounding word, it’s spamera. Anyone, who hangs out at a gas station to hear a phrase they don’t like so they can giggle to themselves whilst some honky, white trash, gun toting redneck can make a stupid snarky remark about a mysterious drink clearly has issues. Like, admit yourself because you’re a deranged, child molesting necropheliac issues. You so called Canadians babbling about how it shouldn’t be used in Canada. Meanwhile, we’re governed by a monarchy. Honestly, you guys, representing the opposition, are retarded.

  11. Thank you for writing this article! I was worried I was alone and did a quick google search which landed me here.
    People can say what they want, but when that includes
    *”Cheers”, especially in parting and faux-offhandedly
    *Monty Python zingers
    *nauseating nu-music jargon descriptives (eg “shoegaze”)in excess
    or
    *horrid fake British accents
    it makes me want to punch them in the face and they should expect nothing less than me barely restraining my fists. That’s all I can offer.
    Cheers?
    Go eat a bag of dicks.

  12. Triple-U sponsor of the day.. People who say “Cheers”

    I hate reading message boards and seeing people ending posts with “cheers”. So much so that I had to google it and see if I was the only one. Thank God I’m not.

    I HATE “Cheers”. It reeks of false supereriority and smugness. 98% of the people who say it only say it because they think it makes them look intelligent and high class; while in reality you really look like an ASS.

    I’m out.

  13. The English language needs a good word for goodbye — something that has that feeling of talk to you later, take care, and bye all rolled into one. Bye doesn’t cut it. Ttyl doesn’t either. Take care is a bit much. Cheers tries to fill in the gap. Sure it’s odd to most American ears. Ciao is probably the same for many. But they are one-syllable words that convey something our one-syllable goodbyes (Bye, for example) don’t really have. Let’s not get jingoistic, xenophobic or chauvinistic about this people! And what’s with you English language snobs using crude language? To me it automatically destroys any credibility that your argument may have…

  14. Dan: I know it’s two words, but either “hang on” or “hang in” does if for me. If there is reason for concern “hang in there” seems appropriate.

  15. Only Wankers use the word Cheers its pathetic slang from England,some people think its a cool way of saying goodbye,but as commented before,its actually a nice way of telling someone to Fuck Off.

  16. I’ve just received an e mail from a particularly irritating colleague in England who really winds me up when he signs off e mails with Cheers….. as if we are in the pub or everyone is his mate. It’s just wrong. I concur with everything said above. With thanks,

  17. I’m completely thankful to each and every one of you for noticing the increased use and abuse of this stupid word. I began noticing this phenomenon in 2004 and I have lost seconds off my life every time someone uses it as a send off, when a simple fucking “goodbye” or a shallow “take care” would have sufficed. FUCK! And for all you who say it, why, why, why, why???? Knock that shit off!! You sound like morons!

    Cheers, Fuck face!

  18. This is a great place to see the difference between England and the USA/Canada.

    Unlike the crime infested land of the fat imbeciles, called the USA; in England people are positive, polite, and overall strikingly more intelligent than Americans.

    I was skeptical about going to the UK, but it proved to be a far better place to live in than America was. Here you can enjoy life, smile and be polite to strangers, and not be afraid that some coke-starved kid with a gun will shoot you in the head just for the heck of it.

    Restrain yourself of commenting on a country you haven’t been to !

  19. as a brit, i have to say that we don’t call manual cars ‘standard’. we call them manuals as well.

    either ‘standard’ is just some french, hippy word or ‘manual’ is yet another of those bastardisations of the english language that we have imported from America. seeing as i say manual, i’m hoping it’s the former.

    other than that, i look forward to visiting America sometime soon and seeing how much internal conflict i can bring about in people by saying ‘cheers’.

    (p.s. people who say ‘cheers’ for everything are sadly mistaken, on multiple levels. ‘cheers’, unless said before drinking, generally means goodbye and thank you at the same time, and is mostly used by the kind of person for whom the main source of household income is the government)

  20. As an Englishmen (I so very much hate to be called “Brit”) personally I associate “cheers” as a drinking toast and not thank you/goodbye (in my view it’s lazy and used out of context).

    This is not because I am stuffy but because I have standards.

    The above were traditionally used by the working class while in a pub, most people of traditional middle class or upper will probably still say “thank you very much” or “cheerio” (unless they are of course young or trying to be cool and with the times).
    The English is a beautiful language and it’s rather sad it’s been massacred by, well let’s face it – the stupid.

    Another think what particularly gets me is when called “mate”. I am always suspicious of anyone who calls me this, it seems insincere. Been called a “guy” (which has recently caught on in Britain) is not much better, as it traditionally means someone of ill repute (association to the papist and traitor Guy Fawkes).

    I imagine that a fellow countrymen’s response will probably be along the lines of “chill out mate stop been so stuffy”.

  21. “Cheers!” is insipid. People who use it demand that the recipient assume their good faith and light-hearted cheerfulness, even though it’s deliberately ambiguous and glib — and likely covers some snarling hostility. It’s like some sullen suburban white kid making the “peace sign” with his index and middle finger and sticking it into your face and muttering “peace.” He doesn’t MEAN peace. He means “I don’t give a shit about you, but if you read the transcript all I said was ‘peace’ and what’s wrong with peace, asshole?”

    “Cheers” is a shitty Eurotrash phrase which is nearly as bad as when American journalists began substituting “gone/went missing” for “disappeared and vanished” when describing children suspected of being abducted. I absolutely hate “cheers” and “gone/went missing.” They are stupid, fraudulent phrases meant to make the speaker seem sophisticated at the expense of clarity.

    On the other hand, I think “cheerio” is kind of fun.

  22. Standard is normal where I come from.I drive a standard is totally common. I’m 36 years ol and live in Saskatchewan Cananda…so I couln’t actually say ‘manual tranny’ for example withou feeling weird. I agree with everything else I think. Cheers has made me feel cringy everytime I here so I wasn’ sure if I was alone in thinking that.

  23. Wow… The sad part about all this is not the use of a simple word such as “cheers,” but the extremely

  24. Interesting, 3 years of comments and no one has picked up on the obvious. Cheers, in the goodbye context, is a derivative of the german word for Goodbye, Tschus. (Pronounced chus) This especially sounds like Cheers when pronounced by an englishmen who does not pronounce R’s as a North American would. So it becomes one of the universal goodbyes. Chow, Bye, Cheers, Tschus

  25. I absolutely despise the sign-off “cheers” and I HATE the people who use it even more, especially in emails

  26. The only time I will use it if I’m saying bye and thank you at the same time. Example being someone just helped me out or was friendly. It’s just a friendly hey thanks bye, raise my glass to you, or have a good one kind of thing. Australians use this word alot aswell, it’s not just the eurotrash from England. Only use it sparingly though or else it can be iritating.

  27. Just searched if using Cheers is appropriate when closing… I’m not a big fan of using goodbyye because it express an end and I want to keep it open… trying to figure out a good short word that attracts my clients to call back and want to talk with me again.

    I will definitely not use Cheers, though the definition is great, you make good point that it is associated with drinking, and you can see that it does irritate many people.

    Any suggestions for a strong 1-2 word phrase for closing friendly, non-irritating, and not ‘goodbye’?

  28. ARE YOU GUYS SERIOUS? hahahahah how good is that part where he’s like “what is this world coming to.”
    dude are YOU serious with yourself. its simply using a word in place of another. why you having a cry? why is there even a discussion on this . why am i even commenting. all i know is that … CHEERS ALL THE FUCKING WAY
    we’re all bored kents in this world really what is the world coming to that we have discussions on shit some celebrity said

  29. How strange, here in South Africa it’s a VERY common way to say bye among English speakers.
    It’s not considered remotely trendy.

  30. cheers cheers cheers cheers cheers cheers cheers cheers cheers cheers cheers cheers cheers cheers cheers cheers cheers cheers cheers cheers cheers cheers cheers cheers cheers cheers cheers cheers cheers cheers cheers cheers cheers cheers cheers to you all haters !
    cheers !

  31. I also did a google search, and landed on this article…a masterpiece…
    I personally hate the word, but only in certain circumstances; a real british, or ex-commonwealth countryman using the word in a nice accent, is totally fine with me. It’s a great way to enforce the “Blimey Mayte” stereotypes of english and related accents…which always bring me endless hours of entertainment.
    I, on the other live in Canada. I am a salesperson for a B2B publication, and speak with salesmen, business managers, marketing managers, and entrepreneurs on a daily basis. If the word wants to stay in its trashy electro party-circles for the remainder of its existence, that’s fine, but to infiltrate the business world…a great fallacy.
    It’s always these just-out-of-university, know-it-all, condescending, lack-of-respect…something or other…
    Never mind…I just hate the word and am trying to find a good reason other than the fact that it sounds like something scraping the ice on the bottom of the freezer…
    For the love of all things sacred…please stop using it…
    It burns my ears and torments my soul…

  32. I find it smacks of something false because the people who use it at the end of emails or sms messages NEVER use it when they speak… so in a way the use of it in writing confirms how inauthentic the platitude really is (coming from them and I’m not speaking of people who perhaps live in the parts of UK where it’s a everyday thing to say).

    Probably accept it wholeheartedly when I hear the same ones literally crack a joke at the office and then say at “L O L, hehehehe.”

  33. Oh thank you, thank you, thank you. “Cheers” absolutely drives me nuts and came across this blog when searching “why is everyone saying ‘cheers’ these days. I actually had a twenty something “boss” write cheers when we were in an email disagreement. I am going to start saying what the farmer noted above said – “did I just have a drink and not know it?” Perfect.

  34. Someone told me that yesterday that at the swimming pool. I was drinking but not with the drinking at the time it was said to me. A Canadian guy from the building….
    At first, I thought perhaps I seem gloomy to him.
    Instead of “cheering” it left me with a weird feeling, so much, I ended up in this web page….

  35. I freaking hate “cheers”. It’s like a big “Fuck you! Ha ha, FUCK. YOU. YES YOU, YOU ASS TWERKING SON-OF-A-BITCH” every time I hear it.

  36. Almost ALWAYS used in Australia for casual, not formal sign offs. If you look for alternatives on the theasurus, there is no reference to drinking at all. You get cheer as to enliven, make someone happier,
    encourage in activity cheer as to acclaim, applaud, clap, hail, hurrah, plug*, rise to, root, salute,
    Cheers as to applaud, plaudits, praise, applause, acclaim, acclamation, accolade, big hand, cheering, cheers , clapping, Cheers as to encore; another round of applause; repeat acclamation, reappearance, repeat performance, repetition, response, return,

    So there – ….

  37. @Jenna: I appreciate the comment, but the issue isn’t the use of the word in general, but the use of the word in the US specifically. It has no place here.

  38. I come here almost every time I see freaking ‘cheers’ in emails from my co-workers; which is getting worse by the day, so I come here a lot. The picture alone takes me from grumpy to happy. I just say “Cheers, hippy” to myself and can go on with my day … until the next time. For this I thank you Dan!

  39. I just had to stop by and say something…..

    Everyone here seems to be either embracing the article are laughing at how stupid it is.

    You know, I say cheers quite often, but only when saying goodbye in a social setting in a quick manner *someone says they gotta go and head out, throw in a “cheers man”*.

    I thought about it, and I completely picked it up when my brother lived in Australia for a year and kinda picked it up – I also picked up “no worries” from him.

    Here’s the thing though – I totally understand the eurotrash crap. I remember a kid in my high school with a painful fake British accent and he always pretended to read and love British lit (why, I have no idea…). It was so annoying and ridiculous. When he said something like “cheers” he sounded like a douchebag – but I imagine this was largely due to his overall impression, fake accent, and stupid fucking eurotrash attitude…….but……does it really sound bad when I say it…? I have think the author and many comments are more closely related to hating a steretype of a person rather than the use of the word itself….
    because really…if you assume someone is a pretentious ass because they say cheers rather than their overall presentation, you’re actually the pretentious ass projecting your own insecurities onto them.

  40. Good point at the end there RG6654, I can agree with that. But I personally cant stand the use of the word though, particularly related to goodbyes. To me if this is used in a context where the user does not 100% understand the receiving party then it comes across as condescending and almost teasingly telling the secondary party to cheer up regardless of their current state. To me telling anyone to cheer up is borderline mockery. It draws a parallel to how a parent tells a child to cheer up when they are crying about something needlessly. It immediately gives off the impression that one is an authority on the situation. The only forgivable thing is is that the person using it probably does not realize how antagonizing it really is. I would venture to say that on the whole most people do not like to be disrespected. And condescension and mockery are probably going to get someone in the hot seat. Those of you that use this word, please think really hard to whom you are using it to. Consider just for a moment, just a moment the person receiving it may not understand that you might just be being playful. Some people dont get playfulness especially in business context.

    One technique that can give you an idea of how cheers may be interpreted. Instead of ending in ‘cheers’, try saying this, ‘Cheer up buddy, I understand your situation. You see life is good for me, cant you understand mine is good? Go be happy, because I see the world as happy! I really have no idea about your life situations, but you should be happy, because well, I am happy about my basket of treats. Watch me eat this big chocolate bar, get the ladies and drive italian sports cars. Not happy yet? Still here? Dang I guess Ill have to show you my bank roll of 100’s and 100 acre spread with mansion. Whats wrong? Cant you get happy already. Arnt I cool. I cant understand why you are not happy about all of this. Oh look I won the lottery. Cheer up! Here’s a bag of ding dongs and ho hos. Merry Christmas, cheers’

    Well I am mostly just joking with you guys, but I would say its a good idea to consider who you are talking with, unless of course you just dont give a rodding damn fuck, and well I suppose thats cool too, just dont expect happy cakes from people. cheers lol

  41. What’s with this association of the term eurotrash and Britain? In Britain, eurotrash refers to the shallow media doings of some continental Europeans (that’s the big island East of America). Don’t associate eurotrash with Britain, please.
    Cheers m’dear.

  42. Cheers is not a valediction – it is a ‘thank you’ for their time and company. Also nice of you to lump all who use it into one racist ‘Eurotrash’ pot. You ignorant, colonial prat – you can add that to your lexicon too.

    I’m glad so many people want to copy our culture, feel free.

    Cheers,

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