play (the) devil's advocate

(redirected from playing the devil's advocate)

play (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 play devil's advocate in asking how the government intends to fund such a massive undertaking. Tom is always playing devil's advocate in any given conversation because he loves picking apart other people's arguments.
See also: advocate, play

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

COMMON If you play devil's advocate in a discussion, you pretend to disagree with what someone says in order to make the discussion interesting or to make people think hard about an issue. My motive for playing devil's advocate is to provoke them into thinking about what we mean when we say something is `genetic'. Note: People also use devil's advocate to describe someone who acts in this way. Interviewers may take on the role of devil's advocate simply to see how effectively you can support your idea in the face of opposition.
See also: advocate, play

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 promotor fidei ‘promoter of the faith’.
1994 Jude Deveraux The Invitation She had played devil's advocate with herself a thousand times.
See also: advocate, play
References in periodicals archive ?
This argument may look like playing the devil's advocate against the much publicized and praised practice of "blind interviewing" or "blind hiring" or even "background-blind hiring," challenging one of the aggressive Moon government's policies.
Gaunt was once a decent, outspoken DJ - good at playing the Devil's advocate, but now he seems like a washed-up, desperate wannabe saying whatever he can.
Although this anthology raises several moot points, it stands out as an attempt at playing the devil's advocate in understanding the mindset of the Taliban.
There is no country like Lebanon," says Khayyatt, playing the devil's advocate, "and no people like Lebanese.
Playing the devil's advocate throughout, El-Shazly stressed that against the hundreds welcoming ElBaradei, there were millions who didn't.
Rutka: Actually, despite the fact that I have been playing the devil's advocate, I typically favor using a topical quinolone/steroid drop for many reasons.
While I personally have nothing against the East Coast, I briefly got in the argument fray and had a good time playing the devil's advocate with Anthony and Brandon about their coast's inherent suckiness.
And 30-year-old Monster Oscar winner Charlize certainly did not seem to be playing The Devil's Advocate.
Making a good decision requires research, playing the devil's advocate, and seeking out pros and cons.
She said, ``I am quite happy to be in an uncomfortable middle position playing the devil's advocate.
They encourage scrimmaging, brainstorming, and playing the devil's advocate.
Playing the devil's advocate, Patrick McCormick pins the pointed tail on the real culprits of evil deeds -- guess who?
On the contrary, when not playing the devil's advocate role the confederate group member did not challenge the leader's solution, avoided the advocacy of any particular solution or suggestion, and behaved in a manner so as to appear like just another member of the group.
Make sure you aren't regularly playing the devil's advocate or sleuth.