We do it so often and from such a young age, it has almost become an involuntary response. When someone sneezes, we say “bless you.” It’s the polite thing to do. And there are innumerable ways to say bless you in different languages.
But the origins of this response are less clear. The primary theory is that “God bless you” emerged in the form of a decree from the Pope during the spread of the Bubonic Plague across Europe. Maybe giving the sneezer a blessing from God would prevent them from falling ill. Spoiler alert: it didn’t work very well.
While the sound of a sneeze is universal, the responses can be vastly different from one language to another. Avoid being impolite while traveling abroad — learn the appropriate response when someone nearby lets out an “achoo!” Here’s how to say bless you in different languages.
Interestingly, Gesundheit, the German response to a sneeze, is also the most common expression for English speakers who prefer not to say “bless you.” It simply means “health,” which is used in a number of languages when someone sneezes (makes sense).
In Spanish there are different responses for your first three sneezes, and they vary by region. The most well-known version tends to be used more in Latin America: salud (“health”) after the first sneeze, dinero (“money”) after the second, and amor (“love”) after the third. It almost makes you want to sneeze! In Spain, the responses are Jesús, María, José (for Jesus, Mary, and Joseph).
The French take a slightly different approach. When someone sneezes, they often say à tes/vos souhaits (“to your wishes”). How whimsical.
As in many other languages, the first time you sneeze the Dutch wish you “health” (gezondheid). But my personal favorite response comes after the third time you sneeze: morgen mooi weer, which translates to “good weather tomorrow.” That escalated quickly.
In Turkey, sneeze responses go beyond just a simple call for health. After the first sneeze, Turkish speakers say çok yaşa (“live long”). After the second, sağlıklı yaşa (“live healthy”). The best part in Turkish, though, is the response to the response. You sneeze, someone says “live long,” and you reply “And I hope you will be there to see it.” It’s not intended to be as snarky as it sounds.
The Russian response to a sneeze is pretty straightforward: A simple будьте здоровы (“be healthy”) will suffice. But things get a bit more interesting if you sneeze while someone else is talking. If that happens, the interrupted speaker will often say правду говорю, or “I’m telling the truth.” A little defensive, aren’t we?
Whether you’re doling out blessings or making weather predictions, it’s useful to know how to say bless you in different languages. Just don’t forget your Airborne.
What do different cultures say when someone sneezes? ›
In non-English-speaking cultures, words connoting good health or a long life are often used instead of "bless you," though some also use references to God.What do the Dutch say when you sneeze 3 times? ›
In Dutch, the most common response to sneezing is Gezondheid!, which translates to “health”. Curiously, however, if somebody sneezes three times in a row, Dutch speakers can also say Morgen mooi weer, which means “The weather will be nice tomorrow”.What do the Dutch say after a sneeze? ›
Dutch. As in many other languages, the first time you sneeze the Dutch wish you “health” (gezondheid). But my personal favorite response comes after the third time you sneeze: morgen mooi weer, which translates to “good weather tomorrow.” That escalated quickly.What do Germans say when someone sneezes? ›
Gesundheit was borrowed from German, where it literally means "health"; it was formed by a combination of gesund ("healthy") and -heit ("-hood"). Wishing a person good health when they sneezed was traditionally believed to forestall the illness that a sneeze often portends.What is the Chinese response to sneezing? ›
So what should you say in Chinese when someone sneezes (打喷嚏 dǎ pēntì)? The simple answer is nothing! In English-speaking countries, it is both common and polite to say “bless you” when someone else sneezes. Chinese speakers, on the other hand, don't often acknowledge other people's sneezes.How do Italians respond to a sneeze? ›
Whereas in English, we say Bless you! after a person has just sneezed, the Italians say Salute! which literally means Health!What do Swedes say when sneezing? ›
Prosit is the standard Swedish response when someone sneezes. It comes from the Latin word prosit, which literally means something like 'may it be good', from the verb prosum. You can roughly translate it as 'bless you'.What do Icelanders say when someone sneezes? ›
The Icelandic response goes: “God help you,” followed by “strengthen you,” “and support.” In much of Latin America, the first sneeze earns a response of “health,” the second “money,” and the third “love.” In Yiddish, there are multiple responses, several of which are jokes or riffs on the serious responses; to someone ...What do Spaniards say when someone sneezes? ›
Someone sneezes, and the person closest to them - even if they're a complete stranger - will shout ¡Jesús!, to which the sneezer will reply gracias (thank you).What do British people say after sneezing? ›
Saying “bless you” was believed to help keep it in you. Alternatively a sneeze was the body's way of expelling a demon and saying that phrase would shield you from the evil. Whatever the origin, nowadays it is polite to say “bless you” when someone sneezes, just like saying “thank you” or “please”.
How do French people sneeze? ›
French : "Atchoum" German: "Hatschi!" Greek: “apsu” - αψού Hebrew: "Apchee!" spelled: אפצ'יWhat do Norwegians say when someone sneezes? ›
What do Norwegians say after someone sneezes? The most Norwegian thing to do is to ignore a sneeze entirely. Sometimes, though not as frequently, you will hear Norwegians say prosit. This translates roughly to “to your health.”What do you say when someone sneezes Yiddish? ›
Previously people would sneeze and immediately expire. The Torah Temima (Rabbi Baruch Epstein, 1860-1941) refers to Rashi's comment on the Talmud that you say "asuta", "May you be healed", when someone sneezes. According to the midrashic collection Yalkut Shimoni, someone who sneezes must thank God.What do you say after you sneeze in Danish? ›
Just as its Scandinavian neighbors, Danes tend to say “Prosit” (“to [your] health”) after a sneeze. The polite response is “tak” (“thank you”). There's another interesting explanation for blessing with “to your health”.What is a dragon sneeze? ›
The Dragon's Sneeze!!
This week our Year 2 children learned how to use the Dragon's Sneeze! It is a flint rod and striker that we use to light fires in Forest School, as you can see from their faces this is quite challenging but very exciting when it works!
Sneeze on a Wednesday, sneeze for a letter; Sneeze on a Thursday, something better; Sneeze on a Friday, sneeze for sorrow; Sneeze on a Saturday, see your sweetheart tomorrow. Sneeze on a Sunday, and the devil will have domination over you all week.In what country is sneezing considered rude? ›
Sneezing: Sneezing is considered rude in Korea. It is best practice to excuse yourself from the room if you have to.What do Muslims do when they sneeze? ›
For this reason, sneezing is considered as blessing from Allah and in a narration3,4 from Prophet Muhammad peace and blessings of Allah be upon him who said: “When one of you sneezes, let him say, 'Al-hamdu-Lillaah' (Praise be to Allah),' and let his brother or companion reply to him.
“In France, we say 'A tes souhaits,' (pronounced a tay sweh), which means 'To your wishes,' or 'A vos souhaits,' (pronounced ah vo sway), which means 'Bless you,' when someone sneezes. The first one is for someone we know well, and the other, for someone we don't know well, or someone with a higher authority.What countries don't say Bless you after sneezing? ›
In contrast, some Asian countries have no response to a sneeze; it's simply not customary to respond in places like China, Korea, Taiwan, Japan and Malaysia. Islamic culture believes that sneezing lightens the mind, so one should praise Allah when it happens.
What do Greek people say when you sneeze? ›
Yiasou (γεια σου): this means “your health” and is used as “Bless you” when someone sneezes.How do you say sneeze in Mexico? ›
So the first sneeze in Spanish, you're going to say “salud.”Do Americans say bless you after sneezing? ›
EXPLANATION: When someone sneezes in the United States, more often than not someone else says “Bless you!” The phrase first originated as “God bless you.” [This may happen in other English-speaking countries too, but perhaps not as often as in the US!] PROPER RESPONSE: “Thank you!”Does Gesundheit mean God bless you in German? ›
Gesundheit: Interjection used to wish "good health," especially to someone who has sneezed. In this situation, Gesundheit is roughly equivalent to "God bless you." In German "Gesundheit" means "health" (and "sanity"). Wishing "good health" was once thought to hold off the illness that might follow a sneeze.What does bless your heart mean in Texas? ›
"Bless your heart" is a phrase common to the Southern United States. The phrase has multiple meanings and is used to express genuine sympathy but sometimes as an insult that conveys condescension, derision, or contempt. It may also be spoken as a precursor to an insult to mitigate its severity.What is the third sneeze in French? ›
Unlike its English equivalent "bless you," à tes souhaits has no religious connotation whatsoever, instead offering the sneezer your hopes that his or her wishes will come true. Third sneeze: One of the following: avec un grand "A" et beaucoup de "s" et à tes enfants.How do deaf people sneeze? ›
For deaf people, "a sneeze is what it should be... something that just happens", says Swinbourne in his article. He even attempts to describe what an achoo-free deaf sneeze sounds like: "[There is] a heavy breath as the deep pre-sneeze breath is taken, then a sharper, faster sound of air being released."What does Oy vey smear mean? ›
Definitions. (sentence) Woe is me.What is Gesundheit in Yiddish? ›
gesundheit (געזונטערהייט): (from German) interjection said after a sneeze, equivalent to "bless you". Literally means "health".What does Zayt Gezunt mean? ›
זײַ געזונט zay gezunt 'be healthy; goodbye' (to multiple addressees, or more formally: זײַט געזונט zayt gezunt)
What to say after someone sneezes in Hebrew? ›
|Lavriut (or Livriut)||לבריאות||Hebrew equivalent of saying "bless you" when someone sneezes.|
|Refuah Shlemah||רְפוּאָה שְׁלֵמָה||Used when someone is sick or injured. Also see related daily prayer addition.|
Answer: “When France sneezes, the rest of Europe catches a cold,” was said by Metternich, the Austrian chancellor. He believed that the political developments in France were intriguing for other European nations. Similar to the French Revolution and democratic, egalitarian, and fraternal beliefs.What cultures say bless you after a sneeze? ›
In Japan, a sneeze indicates that someone is speaking well of you somewhere. The verbal blessings bestowed upon sneezers are often attributed to the 6th century pope Gregory the Great, who invoked “God bless you” as protection against the bubonic plague that was raging through Europe at the time.What do the Irish say when someone sneezes? ›
Ireland. In Ireland after someone sneezes, we say 'Dia leat' [pronounced dee-ah latt] meaning, 'God be with you' or 'Dia linn' [pronounced dee-ah lynn] meaning 'God be with us'.What do Spanish people say when you sneeze? ›
Someone sneezes, and the person closest to them – even if they're a complete stranger – will shout ¡Jesús!, to which the sneezer will reply gracias (thank you).What do Arabs say after you sneeze? ›
"If anyone of you sneezes, he should say 'Al-Hamduli l-lah' (Praise be to Allah), and his (Muslim) brother or companion should say to him, 'Yar-hamuka-l-lah' (May Allah bestow his Mercy on you).What do Arabs say after sneezing? ›
When any one of you sneezes and says 'alhamdulillah [praise be to Allah]', it becomes obligatory upon every Muslim who hears him to respond with: “Yarhamuk Allah [may Allah have mercy on you]'. Yawning is from the devil.What do Greeks say when someone sneezes? ›
Yiasou (γεια σου): this means “your health” and is used as “Bless you” when someone sneezes.Who says when France sneezes? ›
Answer: “When France sneezes, the rest of Europe catches a cold,” was said by Metternich, the Austrian chancellor.What do Norwegians say after a sneeze? ›
What do Norwegians say after someone sneezes? The most Norwegian thing to do is to ignore a sneeze entirely. Sometimes, though not as frequently, you will hear Norwegians say prosit. This translates roughly to “to your health.”
What do Swedes say after a sneeze? ›
Prosit is the standard Swedish response when someone sneezes. It comes from the Latin word prosit, which literally means something like 'may it be good', from the verb prosum.How do you say bless you in Japanese when someone sneezes? ›
Today we say nothing but in ancient Japanese said “kusame kusame” to break a curse. So I do understand why people want to say “bless you” in English speaking countries.. Now, sneezing is called “kushami”. I think kusame turned to kushami.