devil's advocate

noun

Definition of devil's advocate

1 : a Roman Catholic official whose duty is to examine critically the evidence on which a demand for beatification or canonization rests
2 : a person who champions the less accepted cause for the sake of argument

Examples of devil's advocate in a Sentence

Teachers often play devil's advocate to provoke discussion in the classroom.
Recent Examples on the Web Still, the devil's advocate argument: Riley has yet to develop a high school prospect of his own, with Baker Mayfield, Kyler Murray and Jalen Hurts all arriving via the transfer route. Paul Myerberg, USA TODAY, "Big 12 conference preview: Can anyone finally catch up to Oklahoma?," 1 Sep. 2020 Lawyers, for instance, might indulge in grandstanding while justices, who often pose devil's advocate–style questions, might be more reticent to speak for fear a video clip would be used out of context. Jeff John Roberts, Fortune, "The Supreme Court has shunned technology: Could coronavirus change that?," 22 Mar. 2020 There should be a devil's advocate who is arguing against the granting of the application. Fox News, "Giuliani: Mueller does not have a legitimate investigation," 31 July 2018 The controversy — whether gender dysphoria is permanent or ephemeral — has occasionally made its way into the UCSF clinic, with clinical psychologist Erica Anderson — herself a transgender woman — sometimes playing devil's advocate. Sara Solovitch, Washington Post, "When kids come in saying they are transgender (or no gender), these doctors try to help," 6 Mar. 2018 Yet making a case for Bagley isn't necessarily playing devil's advocate. Scott Gleeson, USA TODAY, "Wooden Watch Top 10: Can Marvin Bagley III beat out Trae Young for Player of Year?," 1 Feb. 2018 To play devil's advocate, this is a brief snippet from what looked like an hours-long party. Christopher Rosa, Glamour, "This Video of Khloé Kardashian Ignoring Tristan Thompson at True's Birthday Is So Awkward," 15 Apr. 2019 To play devil's advocate, this is par for the course for a teen drama like Riverdale. Christopher Rosa, Glamour, "I Love You, Riverdale, But What the Hell Is Going On?," 27 Mar. 2019 The controversy — whether gender dysphoria is permanent or ephemeral — has occasionally made its way into the UCSF clinic, with clinical psychologist Erica Anderson — herself a transgender woman — sometimes playing devil's advocate. Sara Solovitch, Washington Post, "When kids come in saying they are transgender (or no gender), these doctors try to help," 6 Mar. 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'devil's advocate.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of devil's advocate

1771, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for devil's advocate

translation of New Latin advocatus diaboli

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Time Traveler for devil's advocate

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The first known use of devil's advocate was in 1771

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Statistics for devil's advocate

Last Updated

8 Sep 2020

Cite this Entry

“Devil's advocate.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/devil%27s%20advocate. Accessed 21 Sep. 2020.

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More Definitions for devil's advocate

devil's advocate

noun

English Language Learners Definition of devil's advocate

: a person who expresses an opinion that disagrees with others so that there will be an interesting discussion about some issue

More from Merriam-Webster on devil's advocate

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about devil's advocate

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