Here's looking at you: Definition, Meaning and Origin

Last Updated on
May 22, 2023

"Here’s looking at you" is an idiomatic expression typically used as an informal toast, to wish someone a good fortune, or to express goodwill. It can also be used to acknowledge someone's presence or share a moment of connection.

In short:

"Here's looking at you" is a friendly and toasting phrase.

What Does "Here's Looking At You" Mean?

The idiom "Here's looking at you" is used as a gesture of goodwill or a way to wish someone well. The phrase can also be utilized to express one's admiration, respect, or acknowledgment of the person they are addressing. The expression has several variations and related expressions, conveying similar meanings.

These include:

  • Here's to you
  • Looking at you, kid
  • Cheers to you

These variations of the idiom can be used interchangeably, depending on the speaker’s preference and the context of the conversation.

Where Does "Here's Looking At You" Come From?

The phrase "Here's looking at you" is generally believed to have originated in the early 20th century, with its roots in the tradition of toasting. However, the 1942 film Casablanca truly popularized the idiom, turning it into a timeless symbol of romance and camaraderie.

Early Usage

The idiom was likely used before Casablanca, possibly as part of toasting traditions. Toasting is an ancient custom where one acknowledges the health, success, or good fortune of others by raising a glass and saying a few words. In this context, "Here's looking at you" would be a direct, informal acknowledgment of the person being toasted.

"Here's looking at you, kid. May your future be as bright as the sparkle in your eyes."

Historical Example

"Here's looking at you, kid."

—Rick Blaine (Casablanca, 1942)

10 Examples of "Here's Looking At You" in Sentences

Here are 10 examples of how "Here's looking at you" can be used in different contexts and situations:

  • As an aside, here's looking at you, kid.
  • I had a great time working with you this past year. Here's looking at the future success of our team.
  • Here's looking at you as you embark on your new journey.
  • Cheers, and here's looking at you, my friend. Here's to another year of our friendship.
  • Could you please have those documents ready for me at your earliest convenience? Here's looking at you to get it done efficiently.
  • Here's looking at you, kid.
  • Here's to you and your incredible achievements this year.
  • All the best with your new job, Tom. Here's looking at you!
  • Wishing you a happy birthday, and here's looking at you!
  • Looking at you, kid! I can't wait to see where life takes you next.

Examples of "Here's Looking At You" in Pop Culture

Below are some examples of "Here's Looking At You" in different films, TV shows, songs, and other pop culture references:

  • Casablanca (1942) – As previously mentioned, this iconic line is from Casablanca.
  • The Big Sleep (1946) – Humphrey Bogart also uses the phrase in this classic film.
  • Play It Again, Sam (1972) – This Woody Allen film, which pays tribute to Casablanca, also uses the phrase.
  • Pebble Mill (1994) – The British TV series features a scene in which presenter Judith Hann addresses the phrase.
  • Rounders (1998) – The famous line is used in this poker drama film starring Matt Damon and Edward Norton.
  • The First 48 (2004) – This American documentary television series uses the phrase in an episode.
  • House M.D. (2011) – Dr. House, played by Hugh Laurie, utters the line in a Season 8 episode of the TV series.
  • Mad Men (2012) – One episode of this TV series features a character who uses the phrase as a toast.

Other Ways to Say "Here's Looking At You" in Sentences

There are several alternative expressions that convey a similar meaning to "Here's looking at you."

Some of these include:

  • All the best to you
  • Wishing you success
  • Best of luck
  • Cheers to your success
  • Congratulations and best wishes
  • To your continued success
  • Here's to your future
  • Best wishes on your journey
  • May success follow you
  • Raising a toast to you

10 Frequently Asked Questions About “Here's Looking At You”

  • What is the origin of the idiom "Here's looking at you"?
    The phrase was popularized by the 1942 film Casablanca, where Humphrey Bogart's character uses it as a term of endearment towards Ingrid Bergman's character.
  • What does the idiom "Here's looking at you" convey?
    It is a friendly expression of goodwill, recognition, or affection towards someone. Its usage often implies a sense of nostalgia or sentimentality.
  • Can "Here's looking at you" be used in formal situations?
    While it's not typically used in very formal situations, it can be appropriate during toasts or speeches in semi-formal settings.
  • What other phrases can be used instead of "Here's looking at you"?
    Phrases such as "Here's to you," "Here's a toast to you," "Here's raising a glass to you," "A toast in your honor," and "Here's saluting you" can convey similar sentiments.
  • Is the idiom "Here's looking at you" used globally?
    Yes, but its understanding and impact may depend on familiarity with English language idioms and Western culture.
  • Is "Here's looking at you" used in literature?
    Yes, it can be found in various works of literature, often to convey a character's affection or respect towards another.
  • Is "Here's looking at you" a common idiom?
    Yes, it is widely recognized and used, especially in English-speaking countries, largely due to its prominence in popular culture.
  • Can the phrase "Here's looking at you" have different meanings?
    The core meaning remains the same, but the context can influence its interpretation. It can express anything from simple acknowledgment to deep affection or respect.
  • Is the idiom "Here's looking at you" used in modern speech?
    Yes, it is used in both spoken and written English, particularly in informal and semi-formal contexts.
  • Why is "Here's looking at you" often associated with the movie Casablanca?
    The phrase was used by Humphrey Bogart's character in a memorable scene in the movie. Despite existing before the film, its use in Casablanca played a significant role in popularizing the phrase, making it synonymous with the film.

Final Thoughts About “Here's Looking At You”

The “Here's looking at you”  idiom is a charming, timeless idiom that conveys respect, affection, and camaraderie. It's a universal expression that transcends boundaries, creating shared moments of acknowledgment and appreciation. It's versatility and widespread use in popular culture have only enhanced its appeal and resonance.

  • It symbolizes affection and acknowledgment.
  • Hollywood has popularized it, and is frequently used in popular culture.
  • It's often associated with nostalgia and sentimentality.

In the end, "Here's Looking At You" serves as a powerful reminder of our shared human experiences - of honor, respect, love, and friendship. It is a testament to the power of language in encapsulating complex emotions and memories, making it a truly special idiom to understand and use.

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