Here is a complete reference of typical sayings in The Handmaid's Tale.

Sayings in Gilead

  • “Under His Eye” - a Biblical reference, intended for saying hello or goodbye.
  • "Blessed day/evening" - the Gilead alternative to saying "good morning/afternoon" or "good evening".
  • “Praise be” - said when you’re glad or thankful about something, like the weather or a pregnancy.
  • “Blessed be the fruit” - the typical greeting to a Handmaid in Gilead. The phrase also has biblical ties to encouraging fertility.
  • “May the Lord open” - the classic response to “blessed be the fruit.” It also suggests that they’re praying for God to bring fertility to the Handmaids.
  • "We've been sent good weather" - one of the few small talk phrases Handmaids are allowed, typically used while on their shopping excursions. The proper reply is "Which I receive with joy" or "praise be."
  • "Godspeed" - an expression of good wishes to a person starting a journey. Example: "Godspeed, June." Used by a Martha helping June and baby Nicole escape Gilead in Season 2 finale "The Word" 2x13.


  • “Nolite te bastardes carborundorum” - Directly translates from Latin to “Don’t let the bastards grind you down.” This phrase was found carved into the closet in the Waterford household. It was written by the previous handmaid, before June.
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