Meaning 意义Speak of the devil (and in he walks). This idiom means "talk about certain person and he appears".  A similar Spanish idiom is ""Hablando del Rey de Roma, por la ventana se asoma" (Speaking of the King of Rome, through the window he appears).  In Chinese, it is 说曹操,曹操到 ("shuō Cáo Cāo, Cáo Cāo dào"), which translates as "Speak of Cao Cao and Cao Cao arrives. Cáo Cāo is the a well known historical figure of ancient China during the Three Kingdom Period (220-265CE).Example 例子
  • Hey, I haven't seen Bob for a long time. Speak of the devil, here he comes.
  • Hola. hace tiempo no he visto a Bob. Mira, hablando rey del Roma, aquí viene Bob ahora.
  • 喂,我很久没有见过Bob. 说曹操,曹操到, 他正走过来!

4/23/2010 07:03:25 pm

I just don't understand why they use "devil" on this idiom. If we are talking something good on a certain person and he comes that moment, should we also use "Speak of the devil, here he comes.?"

4/24/2010 02:11:10 am

Ana, the original of this idiom dated back to the sixteenth century. It was a superstitious thing that when one mentioned the name of a devil, it would appear and brought bad luck to that person, hence the idiom in question. There is no ill intention at all. I often heard native persons use this idiom in front of the devil, the person who "appears out of nowhere". Yes you can say it the way as mentioned by you.


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