1. Why do most prevailing prominent Asian, Middle Eastern and European languages greet with morphemes anent health or peace? I know that "salutation" itself meant "health" — please see below.

  2. Which prominent languages are exceptions, if any? What explains these exceptions? Why don't these mainstream languages don't greet with morphemes anent health or peace? Surely their speakers must still care about health and peace! Or do they truly disregard well-being?

salute [14]

Salute goes back ultimately to the Latin noun salūs, a relative of salvus ‘safe, healthy’ (source of English safe and save). This had two main strands of meaning. The primary one was ‘health, well-being’, and in that sense it lies behind English salubrious [16] and salutary [15]. But by extension it also denoted a ‘wish for someone’s well-being’, hence a ‘greeting’, and it is this that has given English, via its derived verb salūtāre ‘greet’, salute.

Word Origins (2005 2e) by John Ayto. p 434 Right column.

  • 2
    Spanish also uses a despecho de and Portuguese a despeito de. Also, what exactly is it you’re not sure of here? Dépit and its cognates mean ‘resentment, anger, disappointment’ and pesar means ‘regret, grief, chagrin’; their meanings aren’t exactly miles apart. So ‘despite’ is either ‘in anger of’ or ‘in grief of’ – both seem about equally logical to me. (This would also be a better fit on Spanish Language than here, I think, even though it includes Portuguese.) Mar 18, 2021 at 10:13
  • @JanusBahsJacquet I didn't know that "pesar means ‘regret, grief, chagrin’". But these nouns don't mean the same as spite! I don't understand how "in grief of" means "in anger of". They aren't equally logical to me.
    – user5306
    Mar 19, 2021 at 6:37
  • 3
    You shouldn’t completely change the content of a question like this; you should ask a new question instead (however, now that someone has actually given an answer to the new question, don’t change it back, ’cause that would invalidate the answer). Also, there are plenty of greetings in European languages, even English, that have nothing to do with health: basic informal greetings like hi, hey or hello are completely devoid of any meaning (even etymologically) other than that of being a greeting. Apr 11, 2021 at 7:51

2 Answers 2


Many greetings do not contain any health or peace. However, it is not clear to me what you are asking. Which languages do not have any greatings that contain an explicit mention of human health? Or languages that do no have any such greeting? (there will likely always be one, even if not commonly used)

Or does just wishing having a good time count for you? When you wish wish good morning, good day (Guten Tag...), good afternoon, good evening, you do not exlicitly mention the kind of welbeing. It is just that the time will be good in general.

  • Thanks. I edited my post to clarify. Better now? does my edit affect your answer?
    – user5306
    Dec 5, 2021 at 22:33

Many modern Indo-Aryan languages use one of three forms of greeting:

  1. नमस्कार (namaskāra),
  2. नमस्ते (namaste), both from Sanskrit नमस् (namas) meaning obeisance,
  3. राम-राम (rāma-rāma) from the name of the deity राम (rāma)

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