Responses to sneezing

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In English-speaking countries, the common verbal response to another person's sneeze is "bless you", or, less commonly in the United States, "Gesundheit", the German word for health (and the response to sneezing in German-speaking countries). There are several proposed bless-you origins for use in the context of sneezing.

In non-English-speaking cultures, words referencing good health or a long life are often used instead of "bless you," though some also use references to God.

In East Asian cultures such as Chinese, Korean, Japanese, and Vietnamese cultures, the practice of responding to another person's sneeze does not exist.

List of responses in other languages[edit]

Language Usual Responses and Notes Response Meaning in English Sneezer Reply and Pronunciation Reply Meaning in English
Albanian Shëndet (shuhn-det) "Health!" Faleminderit or Shëndet paç "Thank you!" and "May you have health," respectively
American Sign Language Bless you (for hearing users; deaf users typically will not respond)
"Excuse You"
"Bless you."
"Excuse you"
Amharic ይማርሽ (yimarish) for female or ይማርህ (yimarih) for male "May God forgive you!" ያኑሪሽ (yanurish) for female or ያኑርህ (yanurih) for male "May you live for long."
Afrikaans Gesondheid "Health!" Dankie "Thank You"
Arabic فرج (Faraj), صحة (Sahha) or يرحمكم الله (yarhamkum Allah) if the sneezer says الحمدلله (Alhamdulillah), as an alternative interaction "Relief!", "Health!" or "God have mercy on you" if the sneezer says "All praise is for God." علينا و عليك (Alayna wa Alayk), شكراً (Shukran) or يهديكم الله و يصلح بالكم (Yahdeekum Allah wa youslah balakum) after the alternative interaction "For you and me", "Thank you!" or "God guide you and make you right," respectively.
Armenian առողջություն (aroghjootyoon) "Health" Unknown N/A
Assamese মঙ্গল হওক (môngôl hôwk) "May good happen." Unknown Unknown
Azeri Sağlam ol, or sometimes Afiat (see Persian) "Be healthy." Unknown Unknown
Bangla Jeebito Thako (জীবিত থাকো), "stay alive" (blessings for a longer life) "Silence" "Silence"
Basque Doministiku, from Latin "dominus tecum" "The Lord be with you." Unknown Unknown
Belarusian будзь здаровы for both genders, orбудзь здароў (Budz zdarovy / budz zdarou) for male and будзь здаровая (Budz zdarovaja) for female "Be healthy!" for each gender дзякуй (dziakuj) "Thank you."
Bosnian Nazdravlje "To your good health." Hvala "Thank you."
Breton Doue d'ho pennigo. "God will bless you." Hag ar c'hazh a lipo. "And the cat will lick."
Bulgarian Наздраве (Nazdrave) "To your health." or "Cheers." Благодаря (Blagodarya) "Thank you."
Burmese Ta Baw Pout Pi Lar? "Understood?" or "Got it?" Hote, Pout Pi "Yes or No."
Catalan Jesús or Salut "Jesus." or "Health!" Gràcies "Thank you."
Cantonese '大吉利事/"好嘅". Sneezing in Southern Chinese culture means that someone is speaking ill behind your back. "A great fortunate occurrence."/ "A good one. " 唔好意思 "Excuse me."
Chechen Dukha vehil for male or Dukha yehil for female "Live for a long time." Dela reze hiyla "Thank you, literally means "I wish God will bless you"."
Chinese 多喝点水 (Duō hē diǎn shuǐ),一百岁 (yì bǎi suì), 保佑你 (bǎo yòu nǐ) or 长命百岁 (chánɡ mìnɡ bǎi suì); frequently, listeners do not comment on the sneeze. "Drink more water","May you live for a hundred years.", "bless you." or "May you live to one hundred years." 不好意思 (bù hǎo yì si) "Excuse me."
Croatian Nazdravlje or Istina! "To your health." or "Truth!" Hvala "Thank you."
Czech Na zdraví or Pozdrav Pánbůh or Je to pravda "To your health." or "Bless God" or "It is true." Ať slouží or Dejž to Pánbůh (in reply to Pozdrav Pánbůh) "May it last." or "May God let it happen (bless you)"
Danish Prosit "May it help." Tak "Thank you."
Dutch Gezondheid, or if the person has sneezed three times, (Drie keer) morgen mooi weer "Health!", the equivalent of 'Gesundheit' said in English, or if the person has sneezed three times, "(Three times) the weather will be nice tomorrow." Dank u (wel) formally, or Dank je (wel) "Thank you."
English (God) bless you,
"Excuse you"
"(God) bless you"
"Excuse you"
Thank you "Thank you"
Esperanto Sanon "Health!" Dankon "Thank you"
Estonian Terviseks "For your health." Aitäh "Thank you"
Faroese Jesuspápi vælsigni teg! This can be shortened to Vælsigni teg! "May Jesus bless you." or "Bless you." Takk (fyri)! "Thanks (for [it])!"
Finnish Terveydeksi "For health!" Kiitos "Thank you"
French à tes / vos souhaits or Santé

Archaic: à tes / vos amours after the second sneeze, and qu'elles durent toujours after the third. More archaically, one can say Dieu te/vous bénisse.

"To your wishes." after the first sneeze, "To your loves." after the second, and "that they last forever" after the third. More archaically, the translations are "God bless you" and "Health," in that order. Merci or Merci, que les tiennes durent toujours after the second sneeze "Thank you" or "Thanks, may yours last forever" after the second sneeze
Georgian იცოცხლე (itsotskhle) "Live long." გმადლობთ (gmadlobt) "Thank you."
German 1) Gesundheit!

2) Helf Gott!/Helfgott! (Southern Germany/Austria/Transylvanian-Saxon; archaic/mostly used by more or less religious elderly)[1][2]

3) Großwachsen! (Transylvanian-Saxon; from Romanian "Să creşti mare!"; used solely for children, usually after the usual "Gesundheit" for the first and/or second response)[3]

1) "Health!"

2) "May God help you!"

3) "You shall grow tall!"

Danke (schön) "Thank you (very much)."
Greek στην υγεία σου (steen ygeia su) or γείτσες (geitses) "To your health!" or "Healths!" Ευχαριστώ (Efharisto) "Thank You"
Gujarati Ghanu Jivo "May God bless you with a long life." "Aabhar" "Thank You"
Hawaiian Kihe, a mauli ola, or simply Ola "Sneeze, and you shall live", or simply "live" Mahalo "Thank You"
Hebrew לבריאות (livri'oot or labri'oot) "To your health!" תודה (todah) "Thank you!"
Hindi शतम् जीवः (Shatam Jeevah) "Live 100 years"
Hungarian Egészségedre! "To your health!" Köszönöm "Thank you."
Igbo Ndo "Sorry." Daalu "Thank you."
Icelandic Guð hjálpi þér! to first sneeze, styrki þig to second sneeze, og styðji to third sneeze.[4] This can be shortened to Hjálpi þér. "God help you!" to first sneeze, "strengthen you" to second sneeze, "and support." to third sneeze. This can be shortened to "Bless you." "Takk fyrir" "Thank you"
Indonesian Tuhan berkati "God bless." "Terima Kasih." "Thank you."
Irish Dia linn or Dia leat or Deiseal which may be a form of Dia seal The first two both mean "God be with us." The last means "May it go right," but might be a form of "God with us for a while." gabh mo leithscéal "Excuse me."
Italian Salute! "Health!" Grazie or (ironic) Che se ne va The former meaning "Thank you", the latter (ironic) meaning "Which is going away"
Japanese お大事に (Odaiji-ni) as assuming one got cold. Or, a Japanese superstition says that if one sneezes, they are being talked about by someone, somewhere. Note, however, that it is very rare for anyone to acknowledge a sneeze in Japan and it is customary not to say anything at all. "Take care of yourself." すみません (sumimasen) or 失礼しました (shitsurei shimashita) "Sorry." or "Excuse me."
Kannada ದೇವರು ಕಾಪಾಡಲಿ (devaru kaapadali) "Let God protect you" 'ಧನ್ಯವಾದಗಳು' "Thanks!"
Kazakh Сау Болыңыз (Saw Bolıñız) "Be healthy." Рахмет! "Thank you!"
Khmer ស្បើយ (S'baoi) "Fast recovery." សាធុ (Satu) "Amen"
Kirundi Kira "Be healthy." Twese "Us all."
Korean Similar to Japanese culture, Korean culture does not have a counterpart for "Bless You" as in English. Very seldom, they may ask, "Are you O.K.?"
Kurdish Kher be inshalla. Many times when one sneezes, they say that the thing they are about to do will not happen. So, a listener says Kher be. "It will be a good thing, God willing," or the shorter version, "A good sign hopefully." Unknown Unknown
Kyrgyz Ак чүч! [aqˈt͡ʃut͡ʃ]. This may be based on an onomatopœia of the sound of a sneeze, like the English "Atchoo." Рахмат!, if the person who spoke after the sneeze is liked. "Thank you."
Ladino Vivas, or Crescas after a second sneeze. "May you live," or "May you grow" after a second sneeze. Unknown Unknown
Latgalian Veseleibā "To your health." Paldis "Thank you."
Latvian Uz veselību "To your health." Paldies "Thank you."
Lithuanian Į sveikatą {pronounced 'EE sweh kata'} [5] "To your health." Says Atsiprašau immediately; responds to a responder with Ačiū. Says "Excuse me" immediately; responds to a responder with "Thank you."
Lojban No set phrase, but one commonly says kanro .a'o (kanro aho) or .a'o do kanro. "[hopefully] Health!" or "[said with hope] You are healthy," respectively. Unknown Unknown
Luganda Bbuka "Recover." Unknown Unknown
Lufumbira Urakire "May you be healthy." Twese "Us all."
Macedonian Hа здравје (na zdravye) "To your health." Здравје да имаш (zdravye da imash) or Благодарам(blagodaram) or Фала(fala) "Have health yourself." or "Thank you." or "Thanks."
Malayalam Depending on the religion, one would say Hari Krishna (ഹരി കൃഷ്ണാ ) or Eesho rakshikka (ഈശോ രക്ഷിക്ക) Let Lord Krishna bless you or Jesus save you നന്ദി Thanks
Maltese Evviva "May he/she live." An alternate translation is "Long live _____." Grazzi "Thank you."
Marathi सत्य आहे "It's the Truth" Unknown Unknown
Mongolian Бурхан өршөө (Burkhan örshöö) "May god forgive you." Unknown Unknown
Navajo T'áá bí ání

or Háíshį́į́ naa ntsékees / naa yáłti'

"That/the one said it" (lit. "S/he in particular said it") or "Someone is thinking of you / talking about you" 'Aoo' t'áá bí ání (in response to "Someone is thinking / talking about you") "Yes, that/the one said it"
Nepali ʼचिरन्जिभी (chiranjivī) "May you live long." Unknown Unknown
Norwegian Prosit "To your health." Takk "Thank you."
Afaan Oromo Gudadhu Huddu Sarre Dhungadhu "Progress." Galatoomi "Thank you."
Pashto صبر (Sah-bur). "Patience" مننه (Mah-nah-nah). "Thank you."
Persian عافیت باشه (Afiat Bahsheh). "May Cleanliness/Purity be bestowed upon you or may it be for your health." The sneezer will often say سلامت باشید (Salaamat Bashid). The sneezer will say "Be healthy."
Polish Na zdrowie! or Sto lat! or Prawda! (if someone sneezes while talking) "To your health!" or "Live a hundred years!" or "That's true!" Dziękuję. Thank you.
Portuguese Saúde or Deus te crie or Santinho! These mean, in order: "Health" or "God brings you up" or "Little Saint" obrigado/a or amen "Thank you" or "Amen."
Punjabi ਵਾਹਿਗੁਰੂ (Waheguru) or ਤੇਰਾ ਭਲਾ ਹੋਵੇ! "Glorious Lord" or "May you be blessed," respectively. "Thanvaad" "Thank you"
Ritharrŋu Klas bin gurruwan "You have released nose-water." Yarra rongar, or Bla mela nana! "Thank you", or "'I am dry now!'"
Romanian 1) Sănătate/Sănătos or Noroc

2) Să creşti mare! (for children; usually "Noroc" comes first, then "Sănătate" and as third option "Să creşti mare!")[6]

1) "To your health/Healthy" or "To your luck," respectively.

2) "May you grow up!"

Mulţumesc Thank you
Russian будь здоров (bood' zdorov) for male (informal) or будь здорова (bood' zdorova) for female (informal) or будьте здоровы (boot'tye zdorovy) for both genders (formal).

правду говорю (pravdu govor'u) if someone sneezes while talking.

"Be healthy."

"I'm telling the truth."

спасибо (spasiba) "Thank you."
Serbian Наздравље "To your health." Хвала or less frequently Истина or Здравље да имаш. "Thank you," or less frequently "It is true" or "Health you have".
Sinhala ආයුබෝවන් Ayubowan "Have a long life." Thank you Unknown
Slovak Na zdravie "To your health." Ďakujem "Thank you."
Slovenian Na zdravje, Res je or the old-fashioned Bog pomagaj "To your health","It is true" or "God help to you." Hvala "Thank you."
Spanish In Latin America, Salud, or Dios te bendiga. It can also be Jesús after the first, María after the second and y José after the third.

In Spain just salud or Jesús

"To your health", "Jesus", or "God bless you", or "Jesus" after the first, "Mary" after the second and "and Joseph" after the third Gracias "Thank you"
Kiswahili Afya or often, no response "Health" Asante "Thank you."
Swedish Prosit "To your health." Tack "Thank you."
Filipino/Tagalog Naligo ako ah! (nah-lee-goh a-koh a!) "Hey! I took a bath!" Sino ang di na ligo? "Who didn't take a bath?"
Tamil Needu valgha Also, Dheergayusu, Poornayusu, Sadayusu "Live long." Different variations of long life after consecutive sneezes. "Nandri" "Thank You"
Telugu Chiranjeevi bhava or దీర్ఘాయుష్మాన్ భవ "May you be blessed with a life without death." or "May you live long." Unknown Unknown
Turkish Çok yaşa followed by Sağlıklı yaşa if a second sneeze occurs "Live long, live healthy." Sen de gör or Hep beraber or 'Siz de görün "And I hope that you live to see it [my long life]," or "All together," or "And may you witness it [my long life]," respectively.
Ukrainian будь здоровий (BООD' zdoh-RO-vyy) to an informal male sneezer, будь здорова (BООD' zdoh-RO-va) to an informal female sneezer, or будьте здорові (BООD'-te zdoh-RO-vee) to a formal sneezer. На здоров'я! (na zdoh-RO-v-ia). Правда (pra-vda) if person sneezes while other person's speech. "Be healthy." "To your health!" "It is true." дякую (DIA-koo-you) "Thank you."
Urdu yar-hum-o-kullah (First the person who sneezed says "Alhamdulillah", i.e., praise be to God) "May God have mercy on you." "Yah-de-kum-ullah." "May God guide you to the right path."
Uzbek Sogʻ boʻling or Salomat boʻling "Be healthy." Rahmat "Thank you."
Vietnamese In Vietnamese culture, the practice of responding to someone's sneeze is rare. However, the phrase "cơm muối" is frequently used if someone does respond. "Salted rice" (lit.) Cảm ơn "Thanks"
Welsh Bendith or Bendith [Duw] arnat ti (familiar) or Bendith [Duw] arnoch chi (respectful) "God's blessing on you." "Diolch" "Thank You"
Yiddish זײַ געזונט (zay gezunt), or צו געזונט (tzu gezunt) after a second sneeze. Another response among Yiddish and Hebrew speaking Jews is אסותא (asute), from Aramaic. "Be healthy," "to health," and "health," respectively. A sneezer responds to his or her own sneeze with חיים (chaim) in another Jewish custom. "Life."
Yoruba kara o le (cara oh lay) "Be healthy" ose (oh shay) "Thank you."

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