The Real Meaning of 'Yasou' in Greek

Do you really know what you're saying when you say 'Yasou?'

'Little Venice' in Mykonos, Greece
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When you visit Greece, you'll hear "Yasou" as a greeting all over. But what exactly is being said?

The word is one of those wonderful, commonly-used, multi-purpose terms, along with its more formal cousin, Yassas. Both words roughly mean, "Your health" and can be used as either a general greeting or, less frequently, a toast when drinking — it’s usually raki or ouzo in a traditional setting. But Yasou can be used just as correctly when imbibing a pina colada or any drink.

Difference Between Yasou and Yassas

Yasou is the more familiar (or casual) version of the greeting, used among equals or to children. Yassas is considered 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 tourists are the presumably honorable and honored guest.

What Does Yamas Mean in Greek?

Yamas is a similar term to Yasou, but it 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."

More About Yasou

Not sure how to say Yasou? Here’s a phonetic breakdown: Yasou: yah-soo

Also known as: Cheers! To your health! Salud! Examples: We raised our glasses and said, "Yasou!"

Alternate spellings: gia sou, gia sas

Common misspellings: yazou, yasoo, yiassas, yiasas

Learn More Greek Words

Want to learn more Greek? Check out the Greek glossary here: More fun words about Greece and Greek culture.

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