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angel's advocate

One who looks for and argues in support of the positive aspects and benefits of a certain argument, whether or not he or she believes them to be true. it is the opposite of a "devil's advocate," who argues against something for the sake of argument, not due to a personal opinion. I know a lot of people oppose the building of a new railway, but let me play angel's advocate for a second and tell you about all the ways it will improve our city!
See also: advocate

be (the) devil's advocate

To argue against or attack an idea, argument, or proposition—even if one is in favor of it—for the sake of debate or to further examine its strength, validity, or details. Refers to the "Advocatus Diaboli," a person employed by the Catholic Church to argue against the canonization of a saint (and therefore help determine if that person is truly worthy of sainthood). I'm all for universal health care, but I'll be devil's advocate in asking how the government intends to fund such a massive undertaking. Tom is always the devil's advocate in any given conversation because he loves picking apart other people's arguments.
See also: advocate

play (the) devil's advocate

Fig. to put forward arguments against or objections to a proposition-which one may actually agree with-purely to test the validity of the proposition. (The devil's advocate opposes the canonization of a saint in order to prove that the grounds for canonization are sound.) I agree with your plan. I'm just playing the devil's advocate so you'll know what the opposition will say. Mary offered to play devil's advocate and argue against our case so that we would find out any flaws in it.
See also: advocate, play

play devil's advocate

to pretend to be against an idea or plan which a lot of people support in order to make people discuss it in more detail and think about it more carefully
Usage notes: The 'Advocatus Diaboli' was a person employed by the Roman Catholic church to argue against someone being made a saint (= someone given the honour of being called Saint by the Roman Catholic church).
I don't think he was really in favour of getting rid of the scheme, he was just playing devil's advocate. I know that most people here support the project, but let me play devil's advocate for a moment and ask if anyone has considered the cost?
See also: advocate, play

devil's advocate

One who argues against a cause or position either for the sake of argument or to help determine its validity. For example, My role in the campaign is to play devil's advocate to each new policy before it's introduced to the public . This term comes from the Roman Catholic Church, where advocatus diaboli (Latin for "devil's advocate") signifies an official who is appointed to present arguments against a proposed canonization or beatification. It was transferred to wider use in the mid-1700s.
See also: advocate
References in periodicals archive ?
13) Wordsworth would later praise Dyer's 1796 biography of Robert Robinson as one of the best biographies in the English language, an enthusiasm probably due more to Wordsworth's regard for the subject and author than any unique quality the book itself might possess, but also perhaps due to the liberal spirit of the book, the preface for which openly espouses the spirit of the French Revolution, rails on titles, and declares itself to abide by the "language of equality"--an idea that may have influenced Wordsworth's famous advocation, only two years later, of a poetry that speaks in a "language really used by men.
Indeed, any other conclusion seems incompatible with his advocation of lexforism in true conflicts.
Sefakor Komabu-Pomeyie, Advocation for Accessible Schools--Ghana
Goldstein's advocation of the power of a good smile.
Martin goes as far as saying that the ANC had an ideological make-up that was totally Garveyite, but due to the strength of the modern-day relationship between the ANC and the Communist Party of South Africa, this "fact" has been suppressed--possibly because of the inherent antagonisms between Garveys'race-based perceptions and the Communist Party's advocation of classism over racism.
The conference is likely to follow the lead set at the Easter conference season on concerns over money in schools and the advocation of boycotts of the national testing of 7, 11 and 14-year-olds and the abolition of league tables.
Among conservatives, there is substantial dissatisfaction with public schools and advocation of voucher plans--even on the part of many poor urban and rural families.
Although CK-MB mass testing was once considered the "gold standard" of laboratory tests for this purpose, the use and advocation of cardiac troponins for this purpose have steadily grown throughout the past decade.
Bembo's advocation of an Italian literary language based on Petrarch's poetry and Boccaccio's prose, a language perceived as untouched by history and regional rivalry, was keenly attuned to the ambitions of the Medici, and Labe's reorientation of Petarch's treatment of amatory relationships was intended to make available to a middle-class audience forms of verse excluded from the educated male community schooled in the humanist tradition.
However, this is the approach the Clinton Administration pursued in its advocation of mandated employer-sponsored health insurance.
which purports to represent all the students at the university" when it makes political and ideological statements, id at 768, for "[t]h room in the First Amendment for such absolute compulsory support, advocation and representation.
9, the poker tournament raised more than $7,000 for Autism Speaks in support of autism research, awareness, and advocation.
2 Advocation of recycled paper in the United States
Available are family support services (through a Licensed Social Worker) such as emotional support, planning, mediation, client advocation, advanced directive support and placement counseling.
And our consistent advocation and success in defining herb quality has made Phyto-Technologies a recognized leader in the proper modernization of traditional Chinese medicine," added Mr.