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I faced this the first time, when I started working in a company where most of the employees went together to lunch. Leaving the office, wishing those who stood in the office

Mahlzeit!

or those staying in office saying same to those leaving. So it felt like some sort of announcing to leave now. Or something similar to wishing to enjoy their meal. I just started adopting it at one point, as since then I faced it at almost any company I had been working yet.

After I was asked by a coworker who currently is learning German, what it means and why people are saying it, I was struggling to be able to explain how this might have come up.

So what is the origin of people going to have lunch telling others "Mahlzeit!"?

Because, even knowing its meaning The term "Mahlzeit" from that other question, I am still wondering how this would end up being used in such way.

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  • Have you read the answers (and comments) in the linked thread? It seems to pretty much explain your question. If you still think it's not sufficiently answered, please clarify. – infinitezero Mar 3 '20 at 11:50
  • @infinitezero: Yeah, I read it. But I am wondering how this came up. Usually similiar German sentences are not just singleterms implying what they mean but rather stating it. From my experience we at least connect it with what we wish others to have like "Guten Tag.", "Schönen Feierabend", "Guten Appetit", "Angenehme Reise" etc. where as "Mahlzeit" just feels idiotic by the things I am used to. It is kinda lacking the explanation why one is saying it. – Zaibis Mar 3 '20 at 12:03
  • I would Expect it to be rather something like "Angenehme Mahlzeit" one would have to say. But Mahlzeit on its own feels like someone saying "Reise!" when a guest leaves or "Krankheit!" instead of "Gute Besserung" or "Feierabend!" when leaving the office. But all this would feel quite weird from my perspective. So I was wondering how did this evolve being the case for "Mahlzeit" – Zaibis Mar 3 '20 at 12:04
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    It's also common to say just "Morgen" or "Abend" instead of "Guten Morgen" or "Guten Abend". In Hesse instead of "Guten Appetit" you just say "Guden". – infinitezero Mar 3 '20 at 12:12
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    In the comments to the other question there's also a link to the Wikipedia article where it's traced to "Gesegnete Mahlzeit". – DonHolgo Mar 3 '20 at 12:45
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Such abbreviations are not that uncommon in German. As mentioned in the other article, it's short for Gesegnete Mahlzeit.

Other often used shortened forms are:

Morgen (Guten Morgen)
N'Abend (Guten Abend)
Abend (Guten Abend)
Guden (Guten Appetit, Hessian dialect)
Frohes Neues (Frohes Neues Jahr)
Alles Gute (Alles Gute zum Geburtstag / Hochzeitstag, etc.)

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