play (the) devil's advocate

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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 ?
It could have been interpreted as a put-down, but there was an habitual twinkle in his eye that told you he was just playing devil's advocate.
If you are playing Devil's Advocate in the morning only about things you care about, and taking a step back and leaving emotions out of it then you're probably on the right track for quality critical thinking.
PLAYING devil's advocate, does he really deserve a place in the starting XI right now?
I'm calling for @megynkelly to cancel the airing of our interview for misrepresenting my views on Sandy Hook," he tweeted Monday afternoon, along with a 41-minute YouTube video explaining that he was only playing devil's advocate on his show.
OK, playing devil's advocate here, are you sure they don't just all share a really sarcastic sense of humour?
However, playing devil's advocate, his decision does demonstrate a level of self-awareness and financial astuteness.
But playing devil's advocate for a moment, please consider this.
I'm playing devil's advocate here but I want to say the reason for this is- ego.
But, before he hits a raw Geordie nerve, he admits he'll be playing devil's advocate when he questions its stereotype image and he has another question to ask too: should we in fact cash in on the famous film and launch a "Get Culture" campaign instead?
According to press accounts, it sounds as if the judges were busy probing for weaknesses but also playing devil's advocate.
But, playing devil's advocate, are people pushing Solksjaer simply because of his name and who he is?
I suspect David 'Just accept the rent situation and enjoy life' (Feb 17), was playing devil's advocate.
McCarthy will not accept the Milijas dismissal was correct: "Only two people have said it was a sending-off - the other was a journalist, who I thought was playing devil's advocate as much as anything because of the directive.
CALL MY LEO LINE TO HEAR MORE 09044 700 725 YOU know you always insist on playing devil's advocate so why deny that you are trying to be controversial.
Mike Parry, no doubt playing devil's advocate on his 606 radio debut, claimed we all want to see the top two teams in the country at Wembley every year, not a Millwall, a Southampton, a Cardiff or a Portsmouth as we've had in recent times.