talk of the devil


Also found in: Dictionary, Thesaurus, Legal, Encyclopedia.
Related to talk of the devil: tempting fate

talk of the devil

An acknowledgment of a person who has arrived just as or after they were being discussed. (A shortened variation of the longer, more common proverb, "speak of the devil, and he shall/will/is sure to appear.") John: "Hey everyone, sorry I'm late!" Dave: "Well, talk of the devil! I was just telling them about something funny you said the other day."
See also: devil, of, talk

speak/talk of the ˈdevil

(informal, saying) said when somebody who has just been mentioned appears unexpectedly: ‘I haven’t seen Leo for a while.’ ‘Well, speak of the devil, here he is!’
See also: devil, of, speak, talk

speak of the devil

Now that one mentions that person, he or she turns up. This old proverbial saying is, as John Ciardi pointed out, a leftover from the ancient superstitious belief that pronouncing the devil’s name will cause him to appear. Indeed, the full saying is, Speak of the devil and he’s sure to appear. For primitive peoples, one’s name was an essential part of one’s being, and to speak a name gave one some power over the person named. The roots of the cliché have been largely forgotten, and today it is most often voiced simply when a person one has been talking about unexpectedly appears on the scene.
See also: devil, of, speak
References in periodicals archive ?
Talk of the devil - Katie Price has warned ex-husband Andre to "be scared".
A FORMER female child carer, dubbed "Evil Eye", frightened children with ghost stories and talk of the devil before sexually abusing them, a court heard yesterday.
TALK OF THE DEVILS Reds stars Josh Griffin, Gareth O'Brien and Mason Caton-Brown are waiting for verdict which will shape their season
If you crossed out all the times the simplest line had to be repeated by everyone in the vicinity - one word tonight pinballs around the Cafe no less than six times so that all the characters get to have a go at it - and if you deleted all the "Oirrights?" all the "Laters" all the "Talk of the devils" and "Your usuals?" you'd be left with approximately four pages of script - barely enough to fill a commercial break.
If you crossed out all the times the simplest line had to be repeated by everyone in the vicinity - one word tonight pinballs around the cafe no less than six times so that all the characters get to have a go at it - and if you deleted all the "oirrights?", "laters", "talk of the devils" and "your usuals?", then you'd be left with approximately four pages of script - barely enough to fill a commercial break.
If you crossed out all the times the simplest line had to be repeated by everyone in the vicinity - one word tonight pinballs around the cafe no less than six times so all the characters get to have a go at it - and if you deleted all the "oirrights?", "laters", "talk of the devils" and "your usuals?", then you'd be left with approximately four pages of script - barely enough to fill a commercial break.