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Speak of the Devil...
alternative (kinder) ending
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2013/11/18
2:05pm
dkropp
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The phrase “Speak of the Devil [and he appears]….” is a common one, and may not be taken kindly by the person who just appeared and about whom it refers. Has anyone ever heard the alternative”SOTD and you hear the rustle of angels’ wings?” Seems much nicer all around. Does anyone know the origin of either of these sayings? I don’t think it’s (they’re) biblical.

2013/11/18
8:50pm
Robert
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‘Angel’ seems sarcastic. Lincoln commented ‘here comes the devil’ at his own new painted portrait.

2013/11/19
10:20am
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dkropp said

The phrase “Speak of the Devil [and he appears]….” is a common one, and may not be taken kindly by the person who just appeared and about whom it refers. Has anyone ever heard the alternative”SOTD and you hear the rustle of angels’ wings?” Seems much nicer all around. Does anyone know the origin of either of these sayings? I don’t think it’s (they’re) biblical.

books.google.com finds this set of plays from 1724 that has your first phrase. It appears old even then. You might use Google to search for your other phrase. Ngrams can make some interesting graphs. Enjoy.

2013/11/23
11:24pm
asusena Armenia
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Reading the topic, I remembered the phrase “hell’s kitchen”. One of my students asked me where the name comes from. I searched the net and a quick google search enabled me to discover that there is a neighbourhood of Manhattan in New York city called “hell’s kitchen” and a television competition where chefs compete. But I couldn’t find a precise explanation of the origin of the phrase. Does anyone have any ideas?  

2013/11/24
4:21am
Glenn
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It is a poetic intensification. One notable characteristic of the notion of Hell is its heat. In a home the area known for its heat, historically extreme and inescapable heat, is the kitchen.

Heat is often a metaphor for risk, danger, and violence. (“If you can’t take the heat, get out of the kitchen.”)

So “Hell’s kitchen” is the hotttest spot of the jottest place imaginable.

Historically, the neighborhood in New York called Hell’s Kitchen was known to be a dangerous and violent area. Today, not so.

Hell’s Kitchen

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