speak of the devil

Slang Dictionary

speak of the devil definition

  1. in.
    said when someone whose name has just been mentioned appears or is heard from. (Cliché.) : And speak of the devil, here's Ted now.
Dictionary of American Slang and Colloquial Expressions by Richard A. Spears.Fourth Edition.
Copyright 2007. Published by McGraw-Hill Education.
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American Heritage
Idioms & Phrases

speak of the devil

The person just mentioned has appeared, as in Why, speak of the devilthere's Jeannie. This expression is a shortening of the older Speak of the devil and he's sure to appear, based on the superstition that pronouncing the devil's name will cause his arrival on the scene. The figurative use was already explained in James Kelly's Scottish Proverbs (1721).

The American Heritage® Dictionary of Idioms by Christine Ammer.
Copyright © 1997. Published by Houghton Mifflin.
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