The person just mentioned has appeared, as in Why, speak of the devil—there’s Jeannie. This expression is a shortening of the older Speak of the devil and he’s sure to appear, based on the superstition that pronouncing the devil’s name will cause his arrival on the scene. The figurative use was already explained in James Kelly’s Scottish Proverbs (1721).
- Speak out of turn
see: out of turn , def. 2.
- Speak softly and carry a big stick
Speak softly and carry a big stick definition A proverb quoted by Theodore Roosevelt as a brief statement of his approach to foreign policy. (See big stick diplomacy.)
- Speak the same language
spazzy speak the same language Understand one another very well, agree with each other, as in Negotiations went on for days, but finally both sides realized they weren’t speaking the same language. This term, alluding to literal understanding of spoken words, dates from the late 1800s.
- Speak to
verb (intransitive, preposition) 1. to address (a person) 2. to reprimand: your father will speak to you later 3. (formal) to give evidence of or comments on (a subject): who will speak to this item?