Quantcast
Merriam-Webster Logo
  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
  • Scrabble
  • Spanish Central
  • Learner's Dictionary

gesundheit

play
interjection ge·sund·heit \gə-ˈzu̇nt-ˌhīt\

Simple Definition of gesundheit

  • —used to wish good health to someone who has sneezed

Source: Merriam-Webster's Learner's Dictionary

Full Definition of gesundheit

  1. —used to wish good health especially to one who has just sneezed

Did You Know?

When English speakers hear achoo, they usually respond with either gesundheit or God bless you. 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. God bless you had a similar purpose, albeit with more divine weight to the well-wishing. It was once believed that the soul could exit the body during a sneeze, causing ill health, so folks said "God bless you" to ward off this danger. Gesundheit, at one time, also served as a toast when drinking (much like its English counterpart, "to your health"), but this usage is now mostly obsolete.

Origin and Etymology of gesundheit

German, literally, health, from gesund healthy (from Old High German gisunt) + -heit -hood — more at sound


First Known Use: 1914


Seen and Heard

What made you want to look up gesundheit? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).

WORD OF THE DAY

at a gallop

Get Word of the Day daily email!

WORD GAMES

Take a 3-minute break and test your skills!

alphabet-pasta-spelling-help

Which is the correct spelling?

acommodate acommadate accomodate accommodate
Name That Thing

Test your visual vocabulary with our 10-question challenge!

TAKE THE QUIZ
SCRABBLE® Sprint

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

TAKE THE QUIZ