Devil-s-advocate meaning

dĕvəlz
One who argues against a cause or position, not as a committed opponent but simply for the sake of argument or to determine the validity of the cause or position.
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An official formerly appointed to present arguments against a proposed canonization or beatification.
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An official selected to examine the facts critically and raise objections in the case of a dead person named for beatification or canonization.
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A person who upholds what is regarded as the wrong side or an indefensible cause, perversely or for argument's sake.
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(idiomatic) One who debates from a view which he or she may not actually hold, usually to determine its validity or simply for the sake of argument.
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(Roman Catholic Church) A canon lawyer appointed by the Church to argue against the canonization of the proposed candidate.
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Origin of devil-s-advocate

  • Translation of Medieval Latin advocātus diabolī one arguing for the devil's plea against canonizing a saint Latin advocātus advocate Late Latin diabolī genitive of diabolus devil

    From American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition

  • From devil's advocate, a calque of Latin advocātus diabolī (“the devil’s advocate”).

    From Wiktionary