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He that sups with the devil . . .

Posted by Word Wizard on January 06, 2003

In Reply to: He that sups with the devil . . . posted by SALLY on January 06, 2003

: Looking for the origin of 'He who sups with the devil should use a long spoon'. This phrase appears in both Chaucer and Shakespeare. Is it a serving spoon?? A long handled spoon would be difficult to eat with!

It is a metaphorical spoon and clearly the longer the better. Equally, since the devil is an imaginary entity devised by the wise to scare good behavior into normal simple folk, that which you are expected to sup is unlikely to be physically edible, hence whether or not the long handled spoon is convenient to eat with matters not one jot.