Is it true that in Medieval Times kings used to invite other king for a feast and poison other king's drink? this became so prevelant that the guest king would clink his glass with the host king's glass so that some of the liquid in his glass spills into the guest's glass, or did pirates do it?

When, where and why the tradition of clinking glasses and saying cheers started?

  • 2
    No one knows for sure.
    – Steve Bird
    Commented Dec 21, 2017 at 6:08
  • @MarkC.Wallace, my preliminary research says that what I have written in my question may not be true, but my logic is in favour of it, why don't we do the same thing while eating or drinking tea/coffee/fruit juice?
    – Vikram
    Commented Dec 21, 2017 at 9:45
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    Please document your research in your question and your reason for doubting the existing narrative.
    – MCW
    Commented Dec 21, 2017 at 9:49
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    used to invite other king for a feast and poison other king's drink? If kings used to do this, it seems reasonable that "the other kings" would stop going to these feasts, isn't it? Apart from other issues (chivalry code, risk of setting bad example for your subjects, etc.) I would dare to say that it was not "usual" at all.
    – SJuan76
    Commented Dec 21, 2017 at 14:20
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    I find this very implausible. The small amount of liquid that spilled from one glass to another would likely not contain enough poison to have dangerous effects, unless the poisoned glass contained poison far in excess of the lethal dose.
    – Obie 2.0
    Commented Dec 22, 2017 at 6:55

1 Answer 1



According to Snopes both clinking glasses to ward off evil spirits, and to test for poison in the spirits, is false.


Many explanations have been advanced to explain our custom of clinking glasses when participating in toasts. One is that early Europeans felt the sound helped to drive off evil spirits. Another holds that by clanking the glasses into one another, wine could be sloshed from glass to glass, thereby serving as a proof the beverages had not been poisoned. Yet another claim asserts that the “clink” served as a symbolic acknowledgment of trust among imbibers who did not feel the need to sample each others’ drinks to prove them unadulterated.

Why do we clink glasses and say cheers?

Apparently the real reason has its roots in a benediction end of worship service tradition when everyone used to drink out of the same cup. To make up for the fact that everyone now drinks out of their own cup, we clink glasses to bring everyone together as if we were all drinking from the same "loving cup".


“Toasting,” our term for the pronouncement of benedictions followed by a swallowing of alcohol, is believed to have taken its name from a practice involving a shared drinking vessel. Floated in the “loving cup” passed among celebrants in Britain was a piece of (spiced) cooked bread that the host would consume along with the last few drops of liquid after the cup had made one round of the company. In modern times toasting has become a matter of imbibing from individual drinking vessels rather than from one shared flagon, so to compensate for the sense of unity lost in doing away with the sharing of the same cup we have evolved the practice of simultaneously drinking each from our own glass when a toast is made, thereby maintaining a communal connection to the kind words being spoken.

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