Ways To Say Thank You From Around The World

Thank you

This small but mighty phrase, which dates back to the 1400s, goes a long way in acknowledging kindnesses big and small. The less formal variation that many of us use today to express gratitude, thanks, appeared in Shakespeare's writings (in the way we use it today). Before then, the word thank was often used to mean "thought" or "good will."

The English language has many words and phrases that show appreciation, from thanks a ton to I'm so grateful, but even so, to capture an emotion as big as this one, we'd do well to look at variations around the world. A gracias or tusen tack may be just the right thing to say the next time you're overflowing with gratitude.

gracias

This Spanish word for "thank you" shares roots with the English word grace in the form of the Latin gratus, which means "pleasing" or "agreeable." If this mellifluous term doesn't sufficiently capture the degree of your gratitude, try out muchas gracias or muchisimas gracias, which translate roughly to "many thanks."

mahalo

To infuse your gratitude with a show of respect, try mahalo. This Hawaiian word for "thank you" is sometimes expressed as mahalo nui loa, the Hawaiian equivalent of "thank you very much." The word can encompass a range of meanings, including showing esteem for someone in your life.

arigato

This Japanese term for "thank you" was famously set to music in the 1983 Styx song "Mr. Roboto," about a rock-and-roll performer disguised as a robot escaping a futuristic prison. Domo arigato is the Japanese equivalent of "thank you very much."

ta

The perfect solution for the grateful but taciturn, ta is a British colloquialism ushered into the English lexicon by toddlers. British etymologist Ernest Weekley described it as the "natural infantile sound of gratitude."

merci

A cousin of the English word mercy, this French word for "thank you" is often paired with beaucoup for emphasis, as in merci beaucoup. Another common French variation is mille fois merci, which translates literally to "a thousand times thanks" and is akin to the English phrase thanks a million.

danke

Las Vegas crooner Wayne Newton put this German word for "thank you" on the tips of English-speaking tongues with his 1963 hit "Danke Schoen." In this expression, schoen means "beautifully," but since we don't use "beautifully" in the same way in English, the German expression is often translated as thank you very much or thank you kindly.

grazie

Here’s one that most of us mispronounce on a regular basis. Graht-see is how it's said in the US, but in Italy, it’s graht-see-eh (pronouncing all the syllables). If you’re truly thankful and want to stay in the Italian mindset, try grazie mille, pronounced "graht-see-eh meel-leh." This means "a thousand thank yous" or the more understated, simple "thanks a lot."

tack

Ah, Sweden. Land of clear, glistening skies, picturesque lakes and valleys, ABBA, and ... tack. Not a tack as in what you use on a bulletin board, either.

The Swedish Language Blog mentions some variations, like tack så mycket, which means "thanks so much" or "thank you very much." There’s also tusen tack which means "a thousand thanks" and stort tack (not to be confused with short stack), which means "big thanks."

spasibo

That’s the English way of spelling the Russian word for "thank you." The Learn Russian blog mentions "'If you want to emphasize how grateful you are, say 'bolshoe spasibo' or even 'ogromnoe spasibo'—a big and giant thank you correspondingly." Works for us!

shukran

Shukran is the English spelling of the Arabic word for "thank you." This is a casual way to thank someone, with shukran habibi being a more specific way to say "thank you, my love" to a male. Shukran habibti would be used to address a woman.

asante

Here's another elegant option to consider. Asante means "thank you" in ...  Swahili! If you want to emphasize your gratitude, try asante-sana. This means "Thank you very much!" There is a close meaning in French, too. "Good health" translates in French to bonne santé.

Accepting thanks

Alright, we've run down various ways to say thanks. What about ways to accept thanks?

Expressions like don't mention it, it wasn't a problem at all, not at all, and it's nothing are self-deprecating in nature. Other more humble choices could include that's all right, you're very welcome, it's my pleasure, and the pleasure is all mine. And, of course, if you say it with the right inflection, you're welcome is a true classic.