Definition of devil's advocate in US English:

devil's advocate

noun

  • 1A person who expresses a contentious opinion in order to provoke debate or test the strength of the opposing arguments.

    ‘the interviewer will need to play devil's advocate, to put the other side's case forward’
    • ‘He is the tireless devil's advocate, forcing cadets into deeper analysis and dense moral ground.’
    • ‘Playing the devil's advocate to her soft, enduring honesty and innocence, I asked the woman I had fondly come to think of as ‘Eurotrash’ why she didn't call a plumber, or ask her friends for help?’
    • ‘Rather than repeating everything that has been discussed already, I'd rather play the devil's advocate and offer some defence for Billboard and similar ‘elitist’ clubs.’
    • ‘Gregory Maguire's book, Wicked, follows the devil's advocate's path through the life and times of the Wicked Witch of the West and speaks of where the true essence of evil lies.’
    • ‘Most presidents keep a devil's advocate around.’
    • ‘He loves to argue simply for the sake of arguing; the original devil's advocate.’
    • ‘So let's just say for the sake of argument, playing devil's advocate here, that it's hard to meet people.’
    • ‘Just to play the devil's advocate though, I'd also add a caveat.’
    • ‘Capitalism even hires its own devil's advocates.’
    • ‘I have defended murders, rapists, and other undesirable characters, so why not make a cogent argument on behalf of GIs who are stationed in Korea, like a devil's advocate.’
    • ‘The model of the devil's advocate - peppering the side you favor with tough questions - did not appear prevalent enough to derail this conclusion.’
    • ‘As far as secular arguments go, I don't actually think there are any really good ones, but I'll suggest a couple just to be the devil's advocate.’
    • ‘When the shopkeeper gave her fruits and vegetables in a paper cover, the officer tried to play the devil's advocate and provoke the seller asking him if it would not be more easy to give it in a plastic cover.’
    • ‘On both topics the range of policy was quite extreme and John Campbell played the devil's advocate well by asking each person a question which highlighted an apparent flaw or inconsistency in their policy.’
    • ‘Now there used to be, I take it, someone within the hierarchy who is known as the devil's advocate, who would prepare the case against someone.’
    • ‘I introduce a devil's advocate who disagrees with me.’
    • ‘Entertain the possibility that I'm just playing the devil's advocate here.’
    • ‘What elevates The Making of Henry, what will crush the arguments of the devil's advocate, is the way it talks about love.’
    • ‘If I were to be the devil's advocate and wanted to turn Canada into a socialist paradise, I think I would go about it like this.’
    • ‘Paul, let me be the devil's advocate for a minute.’
    1. 1.1historical The popular title of the person appointed by the Roman Catholic Church to challenge a proposed beatification or canonization, or the verification of a miracle.
      • ‘After the post-mortem eulogies and the wild assertions that the Pope was the greatest pontiff in history, somebody needs to play devil's advocate and present the case for the prosecution against John Paul II.’
      • ‘Of all those who have tried to understand Joan's life and career, it is only the devil's advocates who have focused in a concerted way on Joan's inconsistencies and erratic behavior.’
      • ‘I like the idea, found in the Western church, of the devil's advocate.’
      • ‘The devil's advocates, unlike the admiring artists who did their part to insure for Joan a different kind of immortality, understood her changeability and its implications.’
      • ‘He appeared in the role of devil's advocate during the canonization of Mother Teresa.’

Pronunciation

devil's advocate

/ˈˌdevəlz ˈadvəkət/