Learn the Italian Word "Salute"

Family raising glasses in a toast
David Woolley / Getty Images

When was the last time you heard the word “salute” in Italian?

Did you sneeze in public? Were you talking about being sick? Or were you raising glasses of wine with friends while out at dinner?

As you can see, the word “salute” has a variety of meanings in Italian and isn’t just limited to talking about your health, although that's an important use of it.

Here are the ways that you can translate it into English:

  • Health
  • Well-being
  • Bless you!
  • Cheers!

1: Health/Well Being

The word "salute" is most commonly used to talk about health in terms of things that are good or bad for it, like in the examples below with smoking and vegetables. 

  • Italian: Il fumo fa male alla salute.
  • English translation: Smoking is bad for your health.
  • Italian: Sono di/in buona salute.
  • English translation: I’m in good health.

TIP: Notice how you can use the preposition "di" or "in" in the example above. Prepositions are diverse, so you can often use two to mean the same thing. Read more about how to use "di" and read more about how to use "in." 

  • Italian: Mangiare le verdure fa bene alla salute.
  • English translation: Eating vegetables is good for your health.

Popular Proverbs

There are many popular proverbs that use the word "salute." Use these in everyday conversation, and you'll most certainly impress an Italian.

  • Buona salute è la vera ricchezza. - Good health is true wealth.
  • Chi è in buona salute è ricco senza saperlo. - Those in good health are rich without knowing it. 
  • Chi è sano è più di un sultano - Who is healthy is more than a sultan.
  • Salute e vecchiezza creano bellezza. - Health and age create beauty.
  • Chi vuole conservare la salute per la vecchiaia, non la sciupi in gioventù. - Those who want to save health for their old age don’t waste it in youth.

Be careful not to get the word "salute" confused with the verb "salutare", which means "to greet" or "to say hello to". You can learn how to conjugate that verb here.

Meaning 2: Bless You!

  • Person 1: Ahhhh-choo!
  • Person 2: Salute! - Bless you!
  • Person 1: Grazie! - Thanks!

Meaning 3: Cheers!

  • Person 1: Facciamo un brindisi! - Let’s do a toast!
  • Person 2: Alla nostra salute e alla nostra amicizia! - To our health and to our friendship!
  • Everyone: Salute! - Cheers!

Fun Fact: The word “salute “ is used for cheers and comes from the ancient Latin language. In fact, the original word used was “prosit”, which means “sia utile”, “sia a favore”, or “faccia bene” meaning, "may it be useful", "in favor of…", "be good for", respectively. Over time the latin “sia utile” slowly became...“salute”!