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What the Heck Does “Auld Lang Syne” Mean?

Updated on
October 3, 2022
Grammar

In just a few more days, we’ll greet the new year with champagne, kisses, and singing at midnight. If you’re like most people, you probably aren’t totally sure what you’re singing about when you join in for the group rendition of “Auld Lang Syne.” What do these words mean?

“Auld Lang Syne” was originally a Scottish poem that was later set to music. The phrase “auld lang syne” translates literally to “old long since” in English and means something akin to “times gone by.”

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In case you’d like to sing the complete song this New Year’s Eve, here are the full lyrics, translated from the original Scottish into English:

Should old acquaintance be forgot,

and never brought to mind?

Should old acquaintance be forgot,

and old lang syne?

CHORUS:

For auld lang syne, my dear,

for auld lang syne,

we’ll take a cup of kindness yet,

for auld lang syne.

And surely you’ll buy your pint cup!

and surely I’ll buy mine!

And we’ll take a cup o’ kindness yet,

for auld lang syne.

CHORUS

We two have run about the slopes,

and picked the daisies fine;

But we’ve wandered many a weary foot,

since auld lang syne.

CHORUS

We two have paddled in the stream,

from morning sun till dine;

But seas between us broad have roared

since auld lang syne.

CHORUS

And there’s a hand my trusty friend!

And give me a hand o’ thine!

And we’ll take a right good-will draught,

for auld lang syne.

CHORUS

Happy new year from all of us at Grammarly!

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