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In spoken language the word prego can come to mean "go ahead", or you're welcome, but since "prego" also means "I pray", I was wondering whether this word has religious origins. To a causal observer, the connection between the conjugated verb form of "prego" and its use in what one may call situations of courtesy seems odd. What is the story behind this?

Thanks.

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    Per chi vuole redigere una risposta, c'è qualcosa di utile qui. – DaG Dec 7 '17 at 16:32
  • Welcome to Italian.SE! – Charo Dec 7 '17 at 16:36
  • E da dove 'Grazie', nell'interazione di cortesia: "Grazie - Prego"? – mario Dec 8 '17 at 20:27
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As far as I can read from this answer http://www.treccani.it/magazine/lingua_italiana/domande_e_risposte/lessico/lessico_371.html the usage of "prego" started to spread from the XIX century and derived from the german "bitte"; it started to be used in the italian regions under the area of influence of the Austro-Hungaric Empire (that means northen Italy) among the members of the high society and means "prego l'onore del vostro comando" that is "I pray/seek/request the honor of your command" ("I am at your full disposal")

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