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From Middle English God blesse you, God blisse you.


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bless you!

  1. Short for (may) God bless you: said as a short prayer for the recipient.
  2. (idiomatic) Said to someone who has just sneezed, as a polite remark.
  3. (idiomatic, humorous) Used to express non-understanding of someone who has just used an unusual or foreign word or phrase (as if to imply that it sounds like a sneeze).
    • 2000, J.K. Rowling, Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire:
      “What's that?” said Ron, pointing at a large dish of some sort of shellfish stew that stood beside a large steak-and-kidney pudding. ¶ “Bouillabaisse,” said Hermione. ¶ “Bless you,” said Ron. ¶ “It's French,” said Hermione, “I had it on holiday summer before last. It's very nice.”

Usage notesEdit

  • Saying bless you after a sneeze is not considered particularly religious. The remark is used by those who belong to a religion as well as those who do not. In the same way, irreligious recipients of the remark are unlikely to feel irritated by it. Some speakers who are not comfortable saying bless you might instead use the German loanword gesundheit.