Brits: The ettiquette of "Cheers"

So, when someone says “cheers” is a “cheers” expected in return?

Is it a sign off, or can I further expect to also say goodbye?

Narrow it down! There’s ‘cheers’ as a drinking salutation, and also the use of the word to mean ‘thank you’. Even with the latter, it’s hard to say without further context, and bear in mind that we’re great at saying goodbye a dozen times, in various ways, when one sign-off would have sufficed.

I thought the signoff was “Pip! Pip! Cheerio! Old Bean!” At least that’s what I’ve always said to visiting Brits. OK. Just kidding

And here I thought that this thread would be about asking Britons to analyze the interactions between the characters on the beloved 80s sitcom set in a bar in he light of British ideas about etiquette.

I’m trying to get a handle on the word. Sometimes it seems to be a sign-off, sometimes it seems to be a way of stating agreement. Once I asked a bartender if I had left the proper tip and he looked and said: yeah, cheers.

The guy that I’m doing business with seems to be using it as a goodbye, but he’ll say cheers, I’ll say cheers and then I’ll hear good bye and I don’t know how its being used.

Yes, in this case, it’s being used as a sign-off ‘thank you’. But we’re rubbish at leaving it at that, especially if there’s a hint of hesitancy in any response. Several forms of thank-you following one another is not unusual, especially as you can add in comments, grunts, gestures, etc. for moving out of one’s way, passing one’s coat, and so on.

‘Cheers’ is typically single-sided in that context and no response is expected or required. In the context of actual drinking, reciprocation is not expected but appreciated. :slight_smile:

The nuanced rules and innumerable uses of “Cheers” almost approach those of “Dude.”

Huh. I’ve been using it as a sign-off on e-mails for a while now, not because I’m a pretentious anglophile, but because I’m a pretentious thespian. I had no idea it was used in place of “thank-you.” If anyone said “cheers” to me (other than in the context of a toast), I’d assume they were abruptly ending the conversation.


For me, the correct response to “Cheers” is “No Worries,” in the same way Americans say “Thank You,” “You’re Welcome”.

But then, I’m in the antipodes.

I hate when I’m in a shop and someone says “Cheers” after I’ve purchased something. However, while clinking freshly poured pints it is wonderful*.

*I also like to add ‘Sláinte’, ‘Santé’, ‘prost’, ‘nostrovia’ et al. My spellings of these might be wrong.

According to Drake and Josh, it’s “Pip! Pip! Toodoodley Doo!”