Why do we say “Cin Cin”?

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Many of my students have asked me why, when we toast, the Italians say “cin cin.” It is actually a rather curious expression that has something exotic about it …

Today I will reveal the mystery to you!
The toast is the gesture that takes place as a sign of good luck when you raise your glasses up, before drinking, to make them touch each other. The sound that the contact of the glass produces is called “tintinnìo.”

This gesture dates back to Roman times. Since a fairly common means of killing one’s enemies was to poison them at banquets, toasting served to avert this possibility.

The expression “cin cin” instead comes from the Chinese (yes, we all thought it, but we didn’t know it could be exact!).
In China, in fact, ch’ing means “please, please.”

It seems that this expression had spread among Chinese and English traders during the Victorian era when trade between the two countries was quite intense.

The term ch’ing ch’ing was then transformed into chin chin in pidgin English and, having become fashionable, it reached Italy.

In the Italian language, it is a sound that adapts perfectly to the situation: “cin cin” immediately brings back the sound of glasses clinking between them!