Cheers! Learn the Italian Word 'Salute'

To Salute and Wish Good Health

Family raising glasses in a toast
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If you sneezed in public in Italy recently, or were raising glasses of wine with friends while out to dinner, you likely heard the word salute.

From the Latin salus, salutis, salute (a feminine noun) means principally health and safety, but also well-being, harmony, and general wholeness. Italians talk about health a lot, so you are likely to hear the word frequently.

  • Quando c'è la salute c'è tutto. When there is good health, there is everything.
  • La salute prima di tutto. Health above all.

From the same Latin root comes the verb salutare, which means to greet, to say hello, with the original meaning of wishing someone well.

Salute as Health

Here are some common ways our everyday health is discussed:

  • Sono stata male, ma adesso sono in buona salute. I have been sick, but now I am well/in good health.
  • Francesca non è in buona salute; anzi, è in cattiva salute. Francesca is not in good health; in fact, she is in bad health.
  • Franco non è in buone condizioni di salute. Franco is not healthy/not in good condition.
  • Sei il ritratto della salute! You are the portrait of health!
  • Ti trovo in salute. I find you in good health.
  • Luisa scoppia di salute. Luisa is bursting with health.
  • Mia nonna non gode di buona salute. My grandmother does not have/enjoy good health.

To express if something is good or bad for one's health you use fare bene/fare male alla salute.

  • Le verdure fanno bene alla salute. Vegetables are good for your health.
  • Il fumo fa male alla salute. Smoking is bad for your health.

When someone is sick, you can wish them una buona guarigione or una pronta guarigione or can you wish them a return to good health with rimettersi in salute.

  • Ti auguro una pronta guarigione. Get well soon.
  • Spero che Patrizia si rimetta in salute presto. I hope that Patrizia will be well soon.

Cheers and Bless You!

The word salute is used as salutation or toast in several situations:

Sneezing

When someone sneezes in Italy you say, Salute! wishing them good health. You also hear people say, Salute e figli maschi! (Wishing you good health and male children!) based on the fact that male children carried forth the family name and were working hands on the farm.

Acknowledgment of Good Health

You hear people say Salute! if someone just finished a huge meal or ate an excessive amount of food by oneself, or walked 10 miles in an hour—demonstrations of good health. Salute!

Toasting

And you say Salute! when you toast before a meal, or when you toast to someone.

  • Salute! Cheers!
  • Alla salute! To good health!
  • Alla tua/vostra salute! To your good health!
  • Auguri e figli maschi! Good wishes and male children.

Popular Proverbs

There are many popular proverbs that use the word salute.

  • La buona salute è la vera ricchezza. Good health is the real wealth.
  • La salute vale più della ricchezza. Good health is worth more than wealth.
  • Chi è sano è più di un sultano. Those who are healthy are worth 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 shouldn't waste it in youth.

Salute!