Dismiss Notice
Join Physics Forums Today!
The friendliest, high quality science and math community on the planet! Everyone who loves science is here!

Why we say bless you

  1. Oct 12, 2005 #1
    :rofl: Why do we say "Bless You" or other similar remarks in different languages after someone "sneezes"? I heard we say "bless you" because an evil spirit has passed by us and that is why we sneeze! Any thoughts?
  2. jcsd
  3. Oct 12, 2005 #2

    Math Is Hard

    User Avatar
    Staff Emeritus
    Science Advisor
    Gold Member

    According to http://www.snopes.com/language/phrases/blessyou.htm" [Broken], this is a very, very, very old tradition. Here is one of the earliest references cited:
    Apparently, it is not known exactly how the tradition came about, but there are several theories:
    Last edited by a moderator: May 2, 2017
  4. Oct 12, 2005 #3
    Hmm well in Islam the person that sneezed says "Alhamdulillah" (Praise be to God), because the sneeze has gotten ridden of bad things from your body. The other person then says "Yarhamukallah" if the sneezer is a male or "Yarhamukillah" if the sneezer is a female, meaning "May God have mercy on you". The sneezer then responds with "Yahdeekumullahu yuslihbalakum", meaning "May God guide you and recitfy your affairs."
  5. Oct 12, 2005 #4


    User Avatar
    Science Advisor
    Homework Helper

    I generally just scream and duck. I'm certainly not going to say "Bless you". A sternutation (the medical term for a sneeze) can expel material out of the nasal passages at over a 100 miles per hour. No one wants to be hit by snot travelling that fast.:eek:

    Next question:

    Alexa asks, "Can a human sneeze while sleeping?"


    "Thats a good question, Alexa."
  6. Oct 12, 2005 #5


    User Avatar
    Gold Member

    My usual response to a sneeze, which I got from my mother, is "Stop that!"
  7. Oct 12, 2005 #6
    People also use to think that the heart skipped a beat while they sneezed, which is not true. But my Grandfather suffered a aneurysm, which led to a hemorrhagic stroke from sneezing.
  8. Oct 12, 2005 #7


    User Avatar
    Gold Member

    You got a sneeze from your mother?

    I know, I know. I just can't help myself. :devil:
  9. Oct 13, 2005 #8


    User Avatar
    Gold Member

    I'd really like to know who measured that, and what a nasal anemometer looks like.

    Gesundheit- German for "health". It is thought to have worked its way into the English language around 1900. You would simply be wishing good health onto someone who sneezes. Some think it came in much earlier, again, with the black death. When someone sneezes, you would say it to wish good health upon yourself, through fear of contracting the plague. I have to wonder if this is true- had the link between sneezing and transmission of disease been made yet? I'm pretty sure pathogens had not yet been identified as the cause of disease.
  10. Oct 13, 2005 #9


    User Avatar
    Gold Member

    Nor, I daresay, could a team of the world's best psychiatrists.:tongue:
Share this great discussion with others via Reddit, Google+, Twitter, or Facebook