Idiom – Speak of the devil

  • Idiom – Speak of the devil or Talk of the devil
  • Meaning – This expression is used when a person being talked about suddenly appears.  This idiom can also be used when an object being talked about suddenly becomes relevant.
  • The complete phrase is Speak of the devil and he will appear. A long time ago people believed that if you spoke about the devil you would invite bad luck.
Other expressions featuring the devil:
  • Better the devil you know (idiom) – Something bad and familiar is better than something bad and unknown.
  • Between the devil and the deep blue sea (idiom) – To be in a situation where you have to choose between two bad things.
  • Crafty devil – A devious or cunning person.
  • Devil’s advocate (idiom) – To argue against an idea or argument – even if you are in favour of it – for the sake of debate or to better understand the opposing point of view.
  • Devil-may-care – To have a devil-may-care attitude is to be relaxed and without worry.
  • Handsome devil – This expression is used to describe somebody very handsome, but probably too charming or mischievous in some way.
  • Idle hands are the devil’s tools (idiom) – When you have nothing to do you are more likely to get in trouble.
  • Lucky devil – Used to describe someone who is very fortunate.
  • The devil (slang) – This expression can be used to make a statement stronger. What the devil are you talking about?

300 idioms course


When could you use this idiom?

  • When someone you are talking about suddenly arrives.
  • If you are gossiping about a person and they are approaching.
  • When you are discussing an event (like a change in the weather) and the event suddenly becomes relevant (it starts to rain).
  • “Did you know that Jack has left his wife? Speak of the devil! Here comes Jack!”
  • Is there an idiom like this in your country?
What is an idiom?

An idiom is a word or phrase that is not taken literally.  An idiom is an expression that cannot be understood from the meanings of its individual words, but has a separate meaning of its own.

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