Learn idioms with comprehensive meaning, examples and origin details.


speak of the devil

speak of the devil
also talk of the devil


  • when someone comes in unexpectedly while being talked about
  • when talking about a certain person, that person appears


  1. We were huddled together in our lunch table, talking about our boss, when he walked in. Well, speak of the devil!
  2. Did you see Bob today? Oh, there he comes! Speak of the devil.
  3. Do you know what Parker did yesterday? Oh, speak of the devil, here he comes!
  4. They were discussing the girl who was his new crush when she walked in. Speak of the devil.
  5. Did you hear what happened to Mary today – oh, speak of the devil, there she is.
  6. I hope our teacher doesn’t come today – oh, speak of the devil, here he comes.

This phrase, in its current usage, is a lighthearted way of referring to someone who has unexpectedly come in when being talked about, however, prior to the 20th century, it wasn’t a lighthearted one. The full form of this phrase is “Speak of the Devil and he will appear”, and was meant to warn people not to talk about the Devil. It was widely known and used by the mid 1600s.

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