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The French saying "Quand on parle du loup on en voit la queue"

Ready to discover all the things you need to know about the basic proverb "Quand on parle du loup on en voit la queue"? To be more specific, this includes a full explanation of what it mean and how you can use it in a dialogue with an audio example. Along with the cool things we added like slow pronunciation audio, synonym, dialogue example and more!

French to English

  • Translation : Speak of the devil and he appears

  • Literal meaning : When you talk about the wolf you see its tail

  • Register : Informal - Basic

How to pronounce



  • IPA : / kɑ̃ ɔ̃ paʁlə dy lu ɔ̃n- ɑ̃ vwa la kø. /

aesthetic french quote quand parle loup voit queue

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What does it mean?


It's a beautiful day, you are walking in the forest and talking with your friend. The conversation turns to how safe you feel of not meeting any wild wolf... and suddenly... a wolf appears.

Your survival instinct makes you freeze and stop talking. What were the odds of this wolf appearing right when you spoke about him?!

This proverb takes its source into these crazy moments where you talk about someone and this person comes out of nowhere, as if your words attracted him/her.

How to use it

This situation above is (hopefully) not likely to happen, but similar ones happen all the time. Imagine you are talking about someone, this person ("The wolf") suddenly appears and the conversation stops.

Then you can say this proverb to the person you were talking to, but be careful! If "the wolf" heard that, he might think you were saying awful things about him.

On the contrary, if you have nothing to hide and want to say to the wolf you were talking about him, you can use it in front of him.

Pro tips: if you want a shorter version, just say "Quand on parle du loup..." because the proverb is so famous that you don't even need to finish the sentence, people will understand perfectly.

Also, this proverb has a pejorative / bad connotation. If you want a similar proverb with a positive connotation, use instead: "Quand on parle du soleil, on en voit les rayons" (When you talk about the sun, you see its sunrays).

Synonyms / Related

Example in a dialogue


Tu as vu ta mère ?

Did you see your father?

Non... Ah ! Elle vient d'arriver

No... Oh! He just arrived

Quand on parle du loup on en voit la queue.

When you talk about the wolf you see its tail.

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Tout ce qui brille n'est pas or


To vocabulary list


Tel père, tel fils