Gesundheit is the German and Yiddish word for health. When a person sneezes, German, Yiddish, and some North American English speakers typically say Gesundheit! to wish them good health, serving much the same purpose as "bless you" in English. The expression arrived in America with early German immigrants, such as the Anabaptist Pennsylvania Dutch, and doubtless passed into local English usage in areas with substantial German-speaking populations. The expression is first widely attested in American English as of 1910, about the time when large numbers of Yiddish-speaking Ashkenazi Jews immigrated to the United States.
"Gesundheit" in other languages
- Dutch: "Gezondheid!"
- Estonian: "Terviseks!"
- French: "À vos souhaits!" (or "À tes souhaits!" in informal situations)
- Irish: "Dia linn"
- Italian: "Salute"
- Latvian: "Uz veselību"
- Norwegian, Danish and Swedish: "Prosit"
- Persian: "Afiat Bashe!"
- Polish: "Na zdrowie"
- Portuguese: "Saúde"
- Russian: будь здоров (bud` zdorov)
- Croatian and Serbian: "Nazdravlje"
- Spanish: "Salud"
- Turkish: "Çok yaşa!" or "Sağlıklı yaşa!"
- Hebrew: "לבריאות" (la-bri'ut, stressed on the initial syllable)
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