Some time ago I came across an online exchange between two friends. It went something like this:

A: Sweetie, you are so beautiful! (Commenting on her pic)

B:Look who's talking!

Of course, B meant that A was more/ no less beautiful than A.

But I think we say look who's talking in reply to someone's critical remarks about someone else.

Can we use it in situations like this one? If not, what's an appropriate response in such cases?

  • Thanks, Xanne. If you could substantiate your answer with a few examples using the phrase in a positive sense, I would appreciate it. All I could find looking up a handful of online dictionaries was the use of the phrase in a negative sense.
    – user405662
    Nov 18, 2020 at 9:11
  • 2
    You can search as well as I.
    – Xanne
    Nov 18, 2020 at 9:49
  • 2
    It could be taken as a playful, good-natured broadened usage. Quirky. Certainly informal. Nov 18, 2020 at 20:42

1 Answer 1


I agree that "look who's talking" is generally used in a negative context. Here are some alternatives.

  • Right back at you.
  • Takes one to know one.
  • Game recognize game.

The last one's my favorite.


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