Devil's Advocate Meaning?

Discussion in 'English Only' started by loba2000, Jan 26, 2013.

  1. loba2000 New Member

    Urdu
    There is an idiom "Devil's advocate" i really cant find an easy meaning :(

    plus i want to know that is it necessary to add the word "play" in the sentence , example: He is playing devil's advocate. OR Don't Play devil's advocate.

    cant I only say "Don't try to be devil's advocate" ? or do i have to add the word play?
     
  2. cyberpedant

    cyberpedant Senior Member

    North Adams, MA
    English USA, Northeast, NYC
    Just google the term for an easily understood definition. You do need a word like "play," as it implies that the advocate is not necessarily acting on his own beliefs.
     
  3. PaulQ

    PaulQ Senior Member

    UK
    English - England
  4. sdgraham

    sdgraham Senior Member

    Oregon, USA
    USA English
  5. Parla Senior Member

    New York City
    English - US
    Not in US English. Here, it's just play devil's advocate; no"the", no "a".
     
  6. irinet

    irinet Senior Member

    Bucharest
    Romanian
    To be on the devil's side.
     
  7. PaulQ

    PaulQ Senior Member

    UK
    English - England
    No, it does not mean that - have a look at the link in my post #3
     
  8. irinet

    irinet Senior Member

    Bucharest
    Romanian
    Yes, It is a specific idiom used in debates. 'Advocatus diaboli' vs. 'advocatus Dei' is like having two interlocutors with two different ideas who provide argumentation against his opponent. It is an oratorical device.
     
  9. sdgraham

    sdgraham Senior Member

    Oregon, USA
    USA English
    The term has nothing specifically to do with formal debates or oratory.

    Also, it's a metaphor, not an idiom, and it's frequently used in ordinary discussions.

    In addition to the above links, see: opposite of the devil's advocate
     

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