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

We are going to show you everything you need to know about the basic French proverb “Quand on parle du loup on en voit la queue”.

It includes a full guide of what it mean and how to use it in a normal conversation with an audio example. And also the cool stuff we sprinkled like dialogue example, slow pronunciation audio, synonym and more!

In case you are interested, on this page you will find more of these proverbs pages and the directory of all our French words guides on this page. Ready to learn? Let’s go!

Table of Contents

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French to English

How to pronounce

Slow pronunciation

Normal pronunciation

What does it mean?

Definition

  • Quand → When
  • On parle → One speaks
  • Du loup → Of the wolf
  • On en voit → One sees its
  • La queue → Tail

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 his 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” hear 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 and similarities

  • Quand on parle du loup, on en voit le bout de la queue. (When you talk about the wolf, you see the tip of its tail.)
  • Quand on parle du loup, il sort du bois. (When you talk about the wolf, he is leaving the forest.)
  • Quand on parle du loup, il sort de son trou. (When you talk about the wolf, he is leaving his pit.)

Example with audio dialogue

Audio dialogue by French natives

Dialogue audio

Dialogue text

” 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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