like the devil

like the devil = like a demon

with great speed or energy


between the devil and the deep blue sea

caught in a dilemma

trapped between two equally dangerous alternatives

devil may care

cheerfully or defiantly reckless

a devil of a = the devil of a

something very large or bad of its kind – informal

1919 - Katherine Mansfield - LETTER - We had the devil of a great storm last night, lasting for hours, thunder, lightning, rain & I had appalling nightmares!

the devil's in the detail

the details of a matter are its most tricky or problematic aspect

the devil's own

a very difficult or great ______ - informal

1991 - Mavis Nicholson - Martha Jane & Me - It was the devil's own job to get her to give me some money for savings.

the devil to pay

serious trouble to be expected

This expression refers to the bargain formerly supposed to be made between magicians and the devil, the former receiving extraordinary powers or wealth in return for their souls.

give the devil his due

if someone or something generally considered bad or undeserving has any redeeming features these should be acknowledged – proverb

play devil's advocate

take a side in an argument that is the opposite of what you really want or think

A translation of the Latin phrase
advocatus diaboli , devil's advocate is the popular name for the official in the Roman Catholic Church who puts the case against a candidate for canonization or beatification.

He is more properly known as
promoter fidei promoter of the faith.

1994 - Jude Deveraux - The Invitation - She had played devil's advocate with herself a thousand times.

play the devil with = play Old Harry with

damage or affect greatly

Old Harry has been a nickname for the j devil in northern England since the 18th century.

raise the devil

make a noisy disturbance – informal

sell your soul = sell your soul to the devil

do or be willing to do anything, no matter how wrong, in order to achieve your objective.

The reference here is to a contract supposedly made with the devil by certain people. In return for granting them all their desires in this life, the devil would receive their souls for all eternity. The most famous person reputed to have entered into such a contract was the 16th-century German astronomer and necromancer Faust who became the subject of plays by Goethe and Marlowe and a novel by Thomas Mann.

speak of the devil = talk of the devil

said when a person appears just after being mentioned.

This phrase stems from the superstition that the devil will manifest himself if his name is spoken.

sup with the devil = dine with the devil

have dealings with a cunning or malevolent person

The proverb
he who sups with the devil should have a long spoon is used especially to urge someone dealing with a person of this type to take care.

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