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A toast of Yasou on Easter

A toast of Yasou on Easter

Picture copyright deTraci Regula; licensed to About.com

Definition: You'll be hearing "Yasou" as a greeting all over Greece - but what exactly is being said? The word is one of those wonderful multi-purpose terms, which is used along with its more formal cousin, Yassas. Both words mean, roughly, "Your health!" and can be used as either a greeting or, less frequently, a toast when drinking - usually raki or ouzo in a traditional setting, but it can be used just as correctly when imbibing a pina colada or any drink.

Yasou is the more familiar version, used among equals or to supposed "inferiors" such as children. "Yassas" is more respectful, a bit old-fashioned, and is ideally used when addressing an older person. Tourists will often hear "Yassas" from Greeks in the tourist industry, since you are the presumably honorable and honored guest.

"Yamas" is a similar term but is only used in the context of drinking - you would not use it as a greeting on its own. It also means something like "To our health!"

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Pronunciation: yah-soo

Also Known As: Cheers! To your health! Salud!

Alternate Spellings: gia sou, gia sas

Common Misspellings: yazou, yasoo, yiassas, yiasas

Examples: We raised our glasses and said "Yasou!" Yasou, meaning what exactly?

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