advocate

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Related to advocative: advocator, advocating

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