The word is Italian, but it derives from an old German phrase, (ich) bringe dir's – "(I) offer it to you", which at one time was used to introduce a toast. The transformation of that phrase into the current Italian word may have been influenced by similar-sounding name of the Italian city of Brindisi, but otherwise the city and the term are etymologically unrelated.
Some well-known operatic numbers labeled brindisi are:
- "Libiamo ne' lieti calici", sung by Alfredo and Violetta in act 1 of Verdi's La traviata
- "Viva, il vino spumeggiante", sung by Turiddu in scene 2 of Mascagni's Cavalleria rusticana
- "Il segreto per esser felici", sung by Orsini in act 2 of Donizetti's Lucrezia Borgia
- "Inaffia l'ugola!", sung by Iago in act 1 of Verdi's Otello
- "Si colmi il calice", sung by Lady Macbeth in act 2 of Verdi's Macbeth
- "The Tea-Cup Brindisi", in the finale of act 1 of Gilbert and Sullivan's The Sorcerer
- "Ô vin, dissipe la tristesse" sung by Hamlet in act 2 of Thomas's Hamlet
- Lo Zingarelli: Vocabolario della lingua italiana. Zanichelli. 1997.