” Better the devil you know than the devil you don’t know – It is better to deal with something bad you know than with something new you don’t; the new thing might be even worse. The proverb is of Irish origin and has been traced back to the 1539 Collection of proverbs by R. Taverner.
Definition of better the devil you know than the devil you don’t. —used to say that it is better to deal with a difficult person or situation one knows than with a new person or situation that could be worse.
This is the shortened form of the full idiom, ‘better the devil you know than the devil you don’t’, and means that it is often better to deal with someone or something you are familiar with and know , even if they are not ideal, than take a risk with an unknown person or thing.
Meaning . Speak /Talk of the devil : is used when the person you are talking about arrives. Origin. This phrase is very old and can be seen in a lot of Latin and Old English texts. It is used to acknowledge the coincidence of someone arriving just at the time that you are talking about them.
The ‘ devil ‘ idea was also attached to when, where, who, what etc questions to add a note of surprise, irritation, dismay and so on. ” How the devil are you ?” indicates that the speaker is pleasantly surprised to see you .
If you say better the devil you know or better the devil you know than the devil you don’t know , you mean that you would prefer to have contact with or do business with a person you already know , even though you don’t like them, than with a person you don’t know .
1 : an expression in the usage of a language that is peculiar to itself either in having a meaning that cannot be derived from the conjoined meanings of its elements (such as up in the air for “undecided”) or in its grammatically atypical use of words (such as give way)
1 often capitalized : the most powerful spirit of evil. 2 : an evil spirit : demon, fiend. 3 : a wicked or cruel person. 4 : an attractive, mischievous, or unfortunate person a handsome devil poor devils.
“When pigs fly ” is an adynaton, a way of saying that something will never happen. The phrase is often used for humorous effect, to scoff at over-ambition.
” Speak of the devil ” is the short form of the English-language idiom ” Speak of the devil and he doth appear” (or its alternative form ” speak of the devil and he shall appear”). The phrase may be traced back to the 16th century and for a long time it implied the prohibition of mentioning the devil .