zei gezunt

Alternative Spellings

zai gezunt, zay gezunt, zei gezund, zay gezund, zeit gezunt, zei gesunt, zei gesund, zayt gezunt

Definitions

  • be healthy, be well; farewell!
  • (humorous) a recommendation for greater sophistication or awareness: "get real"

Example Sentences

  • "You think you have a system for winning the lottery? Zai gezunt!" (Weiser, "Frumspeak," p. 107)

Languages of Origin

Yiddish

Etymology

זײַ געזונט zay gezunt 'be healthy; goodbye' (to multiple addressees, or more formally: זײַט געזונט zayt gezunt)

Who Uses This

Older: Jews who are middle-aged and older
Ethnic: Jews whose Jewish identity is primarily ethnic

Dictionaries

Yiddish and English: A Century of Yiddish in America, by Sol Steinmetz (Tuscaloosa, 1986).
Frumspeak: The First Dictionary of Yeshivish, by Chaim Weiser (Northvale, 1995).
Dictionary of Jewish Usage: A Guide to the Use of Jewish Terms, by Sol Steinmetz (Lanham, MD, 2005).

Notes

Some English speakers say this in response to a sneeze (usually the first one), though the Yiddish phrase is traditionally צו געזונט tsu gezunt 'to your health.' "Zay gezunt" is simply an interjection used when departing (like "goodbye"). On a related note, as Rosten's editor notes ("The New Joys of Yiddish," p. 126), gezundheit or gesundheit "is actually a full-fledged German, not Yiddish, expression, although many Jews use it." One reader writes: "In my family we also used it as slang for "go in good health (with an emphasis on "go") when telephone conversations got too long, and also as "enough" (as in, enough already, catch you later)."

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