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“Scat Cat!” Sneeze Response

Dexter in Clintonville, Alabama, reports that his Minnesota-born wife was baffled after she sneezed and he responded with Scat cat! Across the American South, this phrase and variations of it serve as an informal response when someone sneezes. Other...

Sneeze Confirmed the Truth

If someone sneezes while you’re saying something, a Yiddish speaker might say “G’nossem tsum emes,” or “The sneeze confirmed the truth,” meaning that what you just said is true, and the sternutation proves it. An...

Scat, Tom!

“Scat, Tom! Get your tail out of the gravy!” In some parts of the country, especially the South, people say this after someone sneezes. But what does a cat warming its tail in the gravy boat have to do with sneezing? This is part of a...

Fomite

Here’s a handy word: fomite. It means “an inanimate object that can transmit an infectious agent” like a doorknob handle or a comb infested with head lice. It also has a picturesque Latin origin. Martha explains, and shares a...