Word and Phrase Origins

Why do people say Gesundheit when you sneeze?

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09/03/2015

AnswerGesundheit is German for 'good health'. I think that while the general translation is helpful it still may not explain why some Western countries use it. (a)"ges"+ (b)"und"+ (c)"heit" a) not sure what that means, maybe thats a German adverb such as ness b) means good? c) means Health; so a closer direct translation may be good healthiness or healthihood; which doesn't sound right -- as something is usually lost in translation -- so we say it means good health.

I'm curious to know the phoenetic pronunciation as my interpretation is: guess-oondt-height.

Answer

Gesund means 'healthy' and Gesundheit means 'health' in general. To wish somebody 'Gesundheit' is a common saying in Germany if someone sneezes. I think it came to North America by immigrants in the 19th and 20th century. The pronunciation above is almost correct. The 'height' part is good but the guess is more like gues with just one soft s and between both would be something like 'ound'. So you'd have 'gues-ound-height'.