What the Heck Does ‘Auld Lang Syne’ Mean Anyway?

We hear it every New Year. Some of us even sing along to the song without knowing what the odd phrase means.

“Auld Lang Syne” was originally a Scottish poem that was eventually set to music. The phrase “auld lang syne” means “old long since” in old English, which means  “times gone by” in more contemporary English.

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. Now you can impress your fellow partiers by not only knowing all the lyrics to the New Year’s classic but knowing what the heck it all means!

Auld Lang Syne

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