Clean bill of health


In the last two, weeks, I have had an annual visit to my family doctor and my cardiologist.  Funny how that works, as you get older.

In both visits, I was told everything is fine.  I remember when this used to happen, someone would say, “I got a clean bill of health.”

The term means exactly that — an assurance that someone is healthy. It can also apply a business after they are checked out.

Long ago, the clean bill of health was a taken more literally.  It meant a certificate from the proper authority that a ship is free from infection.  All the crew of the ship were in good health , in other words.

Wikipedia describes a clean bill of health as:

A bill of health is a document issued by the consul or the public authorities of the port which a ship sails from, descriptive of the health of the port at the time of the vessel’s clearance. A clean bill of health certifies that at the date of its issue no infectious disease was known to exist either in the port or its neighborhood. A suspected or touched bill of health reports that rumors were in circulation that an infectious disease had appeared but that the rumor had not been confirmed by any known cases. A foul bill of health or the absence of a clean bill of health implies that the place the vessel cleared from was infected with a contagious disease. The two latter cases would render the vessel liable to quarantine.


One response to “Clean bill of health

  1. You never cease to amaze me with the tidbits you find, Bob. 🙂