Champagne Toast - Hear Hear

A few people cry out "Hear, Hear!" before they begin a wine toast. What does that cry mean, and does it have anything to do with wine?

Actually, as people who watch historical movies know well, news used to be read aloud in town squares so that all could hear it, before the days of CNN and the BBC. Town crier would call out "Hear Ye, Hear Ye" to make sure everybody was paying attention before they launched into the news. So if you're calling out "Hear Hear" before you begin a toast, that's what you are basing it on.

In the 1700s, when the government in Britain was gaining more power from the Monarchy, the noise in the chambers could become overwhelming. So when a member of parliament would begin to talk, his friends would call out "Hear Him! Hear Him!" to shout their approval of his message, to encourage him to keep going.

This soon became shortened to just "Hear! Hear!", to be interjected at key moments to keep the momentum of the speech going.

If you're showing your approval, the call is quite appropriate when someone is giving a toast!

As a side note, some people mistakenly type this as "Here! Here!" because they think the yeller is telling everyone to "look over here". That is not correct. It is about the ears - not about the eyes.

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