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What is the meaning?

Posted by Peter on July 26, 2003

In Reply to: What is the meaning? posted by Joan on July 19, 2003

: : : My grandmother always said "Scat Tom" when someone sneezed. Can someone tell me where this originated and the meaning?

: : scat _Gesundheit!_ or _God bless you!_ after someone sneezes; _scat_ is common throughout the South and is much preferred in Arkansas over the other terms.
: : From "Whistlin' Dixie: Southern Ways of Speech" section of _The Facts on File Dictionary of American Regionalisms_ by Robert Hendrickson
: : ----------
: : scat! (Usu. imperative.) Go away!: coll.: 1869 (OED). Hence, occ. as joc. v.i. As _scram_ is abbr. of S.E. _scramble_, so prob. is _scat_ an abbr. of S.E. _scatter.
: : From A Dictionary of Slang and Unconventional English, 8th ed. by Eric Partridge & Paul Beale

: Thank you for the answer

I've never heard this phrase--in any context--but it's my impression that 'scat!' would be most often used to shoo away a cat, perhaps together with a stomp of the foot. And a Tom, of course, is a male cat. What that might have to do with sneezing I can't imagine.