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Speak of the devil

Posted by Masakim on October 11, 2001

In Reply to: Speak of the devil posted by Elizabeth on October 11, 2001

: Any ideas?

Talk of the devil, and he is bound to appear. The person who has been talked about secretly is likely to show up unexpectedly. The earliest appearances of the proverb in print were in _Adagia_ by Erasmus (1466-1536) and in Endimio__ by John Lyly (about 1554-1606). In 1666, it appeared in G. Torriano's collection of Italian proverbs and in 1721 in James Kelly's collection of Scottish proverbs. ... _Speak of the devil!_ is a shortened variant used when someone being discussed shows up unexpectedly. ...
From the Random House Dictionary of Popular Proverbs and Sayings by Gregory Y. Titelman
The English say, Talk of the Devil, and he's presently at your elbow. (G. Torriano, _Italian Proverbs, 1666)
Speak of the Dee'l, and he'll appear. Spoken when they, of whom we are speaking, come in by Chance. (J. Kelly, _Scottish Proverbs_, 1721)
"How free he had made with the Devil's name." ... "Talk of the Devil, and he will appear." (R. Graves, _Spiritual Quixote_, 1773)
Speak o' th' devil and behold his horns! (T. Knight, _Turnpike Gate_, 1799)
They are the very men we spoke of -- talk of the devil, and -- humph? (W. Scott, _The Fortunes of Nigel_, 1822)

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