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?


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    Per chi vuole redigere una risposta, c'è qualcosa di utile qui.
    – DaG
    Dec 7, 2017 at 16:32
  • Welcome to Italian.SE!
    – Charo
    Dec 7, 2017 at 16:36
  • E da dove 'Grazie', nell'interazione di cortesia: "Grazie - Prego"?
    – mario
    Dec 8, 2017 at 20:27

1 Answer 1


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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