1. A Yiddish expression meaning "to life!", used mainly during toasts, so much so that at a Jewish celebration one does not propose a toast, one proposes a l'chaim.
2. Used instead of "let's have a round of schnapps" among Chasidic men.
"I propose a l'chaim to Yussel on his new baby!" said Rabbi Eliyahu McClain. The rest of the congregation followed suit raiseing their glasses and shouting "L'Chaim!"
First of all, it is YIDDISH, not Dutch or Swiss-German. (Swiss-German? Where did that one come from?) It means: "Woe is me" and is an expression of surprise, unhappiness, and disgust. And as for all you Deutsch-and Schweizers: Du verdammter idiotes! Ja, du kleine scheisse! Das ist Yiddish! YIDDISH! (the grammar may be wrong, I don't spreche that well)
Now that I'm done ranting (Oy vey! Did I really just say all that?) I can say one final thing. To all who think it's French, German, or Dutch, you are a shanda far di goyim! Thank you.
1. "Oy vey. You're all idiots"
2. "Oy vey, slow down, you're going too fast!"