15 Words To Use Instead Of “Congratulations”


Joyful times go hand in hand with congratulations. When addressing graduates, newlyweds, or anyone with good news, a hearty “Congratulations!” or a swift “Congrats!” is in order. Congratulants, “people who congratulate,” have been using the pluralized expression congratulations, which stems from the Latin gratus meaning “pleasing,” since the 1600s.

The singular noun meaning “the act of congratulating” has been around since the late 1500s.


When congratulations are in order, the term props might come up. This slang shortening of proper arose in the 1990s and refers to respect and esteem.

In addition to giving and receiving props as recognition, you can do someone a prop to help them out. In the 1995 film Clueless, Cher notices that Josh is dancing with Tai, despite the fact that he never dances, to make her feel included. Cher explains: “He’s doing her a prop so she won’t feel left out.”

Way to go!

If you admire someone’s grit and hustle, you can use this sporty method of congratulations. This active phrase has been traced back to the 1940s, when it was used in sports to congratulate a person or team on a great performance. In the 1960s, it began to be used more generally to refer to any kind of achievement. 

If “Way to go!” doesn’t do it for you, some peppy alternatives include “Great job,” “Nice going,” “You rock,” and “You rule!” 


Maybe you want to pat yourself on the back but don’t want to come off as bragging. We have a few suggestions on how to congratulate yourself as well.

Nailed it!

This handy phrase really hits the nail on the head when you want to give someone their due. Nailed it has been traced back to at least the 1970s and metaphorically refers to the act of successfully hitting a nail with a hammer.

In slang, we use a variety of other congratulatory phrases that also refer to forceful impacts or metaphorical violence such as “Killed it,” “Crushed it,” “Destroyed it,” and “Slayed it!”

social media cheers

Like, follow, and subscribe! Social media platforms all have different ways of congratulating somebody and letting them now how awesome their content is. These include:


  • Twitter: the heart or a retweet
  • Facebook: the thumbs-up on Facebook
  • Instagram: the like
  • YouTube: like, share, subscribe to a channel; hitting the bell icon
  • TikTok: like and follow
  • Snapchat: take a screenshot for later
  • Reddit: upvote; give Reddit Gold/Platinum; or a badge
  • Tumblr: reblog
  • Twitch: subscribe to a channel and/or give a donation 

GG (Good Game)

Shorthand for “good game” in the world of esports, GG is used to congratulate a victorious opponent.

Additionally, it’s used to politely concede a match or admit defeat, most commonly in the realm of professional StarCraft. It’s all about the humble loss. Not everybody is a good sport, though, and the phrase GG EZ (“easy,” as in an easy win) is often used in a mean-spirited way to put down a defeated opponent.  

Three cheers!

Three cheers is generally followed by “for” and the name of the person or thing being celebrated.

A person being cheers-ed might also respond to a toast of three cheers with the word … cheers, which, especially in the UK, can mean “thanks.” That’s a lot of cheers.

The term cheer entered English in the late 12th or early 13th century, and ultimately comes from the Greek word kárā meaning “head.”

Hip, hip, hooray!

For some Victorian flair, opt for the ever-cheery hip, hip, hooray (or hurrah). This expression of uncertain origin surfaced in the early 1800s, though the exclamation hip had been used since the mid-1700s. Hip repeated three times was used as a noun in the 1800s to refer to a collective cheer.

But, let’s not forget about hooray, a variant of hurrah. This exclamation dates from the late 1600s and is very similar to shouts in German, Danish, Swedish, and even Russian. Someone’s last hurrah is their “final moment or occasion of glory or achievement.”


If saying hooray isn’t your cup of tea, we have even more words to use in place of that one, too!


Though it sounds colloquial, kudos finds its roots in the hallowed halls of academic institutions. At the turn of the 1800s, academics transliterated the Greek kydos, meaning “praise or renown.” By the 1920s, kudos had spread beyond the walls of universities and into the columns of newspapers.

Don’t be fooled by the S at the end of kudos; the word is, in fact, a singular noun. However, enough English speakers have erroneously interpreted it as plural for so long that already by the 1930s, the back formation singular kudo arose. Grammar sticklers avoid using kudo as a singular and kudos as a plural, though both forms can be found in popular usage.

Hats off!

The phrase hats off, while often said to graduates wearing the illustrious cap and gown, has nothing to do with the tradition of tossing hats in the air in celebration. This phrase, dating back to the 1600s, harks back to the custom of uncovering the head as a sign of respect.

Etiquette expert Emily Post advised gentlemen on the many situations in which they must remove hats to maintain politeness. In 1922 she wrote: “A gentleman takes off his hat and holds it in his hand when a lady enters the elevator.” He also lifts his hat whenever he asks a question or says “Excuse me.” You know, maybe we could all stand a little formality these days …

a round of applause

The act of clapping one’s hands together to show acclaim is actually much older than you might think. Scholars are unsure of the exact origin, but we have evidence that even the ancient Romans would show their appreciation by clapping their hands. In fact, the word plaudits (which means an expression of approval) comes from the Latin verb plaudere, meaning to clap one’s hands. The verb applause is also based on this Latin verb. 

Today, the highest form of applause is the standing ovation, where every member of the audience rises to their feet and applauds. Any performer who manages to please an audience enough to cause them to stretch their legs a bit certainly deserves a big hand. 👏

congratulatory emoji

Sometimes, it is better to use pictures rather than words to congratulate someone. In texting and on social media, many different emoji are used to give somebody a pat on the back after a job well done. The Clapping Hands emoji 👏 is used to refer to a round of applause and the Trophy emoji 🏆 references the shiny knickknacks we give to people who have accomplished something. 

The Party Popper emoji 🎉, Confetti Ball emoji 🎊, Partying Face emoji 🥳, and Bottle with Popping Cork emoji 🍾 are also commonly used to congratulate someone. These party animals refer to the act of throwing a party in celebration of an achievement and the stuff you are likely to find at such a shindig.


Maybe you want to set off the figurative fireworks for your friend. In that case, take a closer look at the fireworks emoji 🎆!

Mazel tov!

This expression of congratulations and best wishes comes from the Hebrew term literally meaning “good luck.” Though many reserve the English good luck for before a big event, you can cheer mazel tov to wish someone good fortune or to say congratulations.

Mazel tov appeared in the 1600s spelled as missal tob but was rendered in English as mazel tov by the 1900s. Whatever transliteration you prefer, the term has been lovingly said ever since.


If you want to stand out from the crowd of people offering their congratulations, try roaring felicitations. This less common expression of congratulations ultimately comes from the Latin felix, “happy.” English speakers have been using the singular form of this term (meaning “an act of congratulation”) since the early 1700s.

So, if you want to be original (or sound old-fashioned) in wishing your congratulations, reach for a felicitous felicitations!

congratulatory adjectives

You don’t have to think too hard when it comes to saying congratulations. Sometimes, a single adjective will do. All you need to do is shout “Fantastic!”, “Stupendous!”, “Amazing!”, “Incredible!”, or “Spectacular!” This is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to celebratory adjectives, though. You can use our handy thesaurus to find many more impressive synonyms of these words that you can shout out when you want to signal how much someone has impressed you.

Keep going!

What’s more powerful than simply saying congratulations? Encouraging someone to keep pushing ahead and to accomplish more. You’re not only celebrating the accomplishment at hand, but also showing enthusiasm for their future. Keep going!


We know something else that can encourage a new grad to keep going further: the gift of Grammar Coach™! Take a look and consider enriching the life of your loved one with Grammar Coach today.

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