Speak of the devil

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Speak of the devil is a phrase used when someone appears who has just been the subject of conversation. The term is a shortened version of the phrase, Speak of the Devil and he will appear. This proverb appears in England during the Middle Ages as an admonition against the danger of uttering the name of the Devil, Satan or Lucifer. The fear of acknowledging evil by name may be seen today in the Harry Potter series, where only the bravest characters will call Voldemort by his name.

Talk of the devil is sometimes used instead of speak of the devil, from two phrases popular in the 1600s: Talk of the Devil and he’s presently at your elbow, and Talk of the Devil and see his horns. While speak of the devil began as a superstitious warning, today it is a comment on the coincidence of speaking about something or someone and then suddenly finding it “at your elbow“.


She recently discussed her stormy relationship and brief marriage to Dennis Rodman during an interview on Oprah Winfrey’s network on Sunday. And speaking of the devil, Carmen Electra was joined by her ex at a Halloween party she hosted in Boca Raton, Florida on Thursday night.  (The Daily Mail)

“Speaking of the devil,” quarterbacks coach Tim Lester said. “We were just talking about you.” (The Post-Standard)

Michonne can only watch from the shadows as Merle forces Glenn to drive them all to Woodbury and an audience with the Governor. Speaking of the devil, the homicidal maniac turned town leader is making his move on Andrea.  (The New York Daily News)

Speak of the devil. Or, er, blue whale.

BBC host Mark Carwardine couldn’t help but laugh when one of the magnificent creatures showed up just as he was explaining to viewers how tricky it can be to spot one in the wild. (The Huffington Post)

As if on cue, Hendriks’ phone rings. “Speak of the devil,” the right-handed pitcher said. It’s his dad. He’ll call him back later. (The Toronto Sun)