Paint the Devil on the wall

Posted by R. Berg on November 22, 2001

In Reply to: Paint the Devil on the wall posted by capable wingnut on November 22, 2001

: : : Is there such an expression in the English language? Someone said it means making things worse than they are, i.e. the opposite of looking on the bright side. I have a feeling that it's a word-by-word translation of n idiom in a foreign language, however.

: : I have never heard that phrase and can't find it in any of my references. Anyone heard of it? It sounds like "painting things blacker than they are" or perhaps "hanging crepe" (the custom after a death).

: I found one quote which says;
: Do not paint the devil on the wall because it may come off the wall.
: One sourse claims that the phrase is Hungarian and I have found another claiming that it is a Latvian saying.
: Most instances of its use seem to be in German, Russian and Baltic texts.

: It also appears in the song Lyrics of the heavy metal band Megadeth and Rage.

So maybe it means don't imagine (or spread tales of) evil because your fantasies may come to life?