devil's advocate

devil's advocate
1. a person who advocates an opposing or unpopular cause for the sake of argument or to expose it to a thorough examination.
2. Also called promoter of the faith. Rom. Cath. Ch. an official appointed to present arguments against a proposed beatification or canonization of a beatus.
[1750-60; trans. of NL advocatus diaboli]

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      in the Roman Catholic church, the promoter of the faith, who critically examines the life of and miracles attributed to an individual proposed for beatification or canonization. He is popularly called the devil's advocate because his presentation of facts includes everything unfavourable to the candidate. Pope Leo X, in the early 15th century, seems to have introduced the term, but Sixtus V formally established the office in 1587. The office was abolished when Pope John Paul II revised the canonization procedures in 1979.

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Universalium. 2010.

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Look at other dictionaries:

  • devil's advocate — n someone who pretends to disagree with you in order to have a good discussion about something ▪ He would play devil s advocate with anyone …   Dictionary of contemporary English

  • devil's advocate — noun play/be devil s advocate to pretend to disagree with someone in order to start an argument or interesting discussion …   Usage of the words and phrases in modern English

  • devil's advocate — 1760, translating L. advocatus diaboli, one whose job it is to urge against the canonization of a candidate for sainthood. [F]ar from being the whitewasher of the wicked, the [devil s advocate] is the blackener of the good. [Fowler] …   Etymology dictionary

  • devil's advocate — If someone plays Devil s advocate in an argument, they adopt a position they don t believe in just for the sake of the argument …   The small dictionary of idiomes

  • Devil's Advocate — • A title given to an officer of the Sacred Congregation of Rites, established in 1587, by Sixtus V, to deal juridically with processes of beatification and canonization Catholic Encyclopedia. Kevin Knight. 2006 …   Catholic encyclopedia

  • devil's advocate — is someone who argues against a proposition or belief in order to test it. It should not be used to mean someone who supports a bad or wicked cause. Its origin lies in the Roman Catholic official (in Latin advocatus diaboli) who tests the case… …   Modern English usage

  • devil’s advocate — [n] mediator apologist, pleader, polemicist, sophist; concepts 348,423 …   New thesaurus

  • devil's advocate — ► NOUN ▪ a person who expresses a contentious opinion in order to provoke debate …   English terms dictionary

  • devil's advocate — n. [transl. of ML advocatus diaboli] 1. R.C.Ch. an official selected to examine the facts critically and raise objections in the case of a dead person named for beatification or canonization 2. a person who upholds what is regarded as the wrong… …   English World dictionary

  • Devil's advocate — For other uses, see Devil s advocate (disambiguation). In common parlance, a devil s advocate is someone who, given a certain argument, takes a position he or she does not necessarily agree with, just for the sake of argument. In taking such… …   Wikipedia

  • devil's advocate — noun someone who takes the worse side just for the sake of argument • Hypernyms: ↑debater, ↑arguer * * * noun, pl ⋯ cates [count] : a person who expresses an opinion that disagrees with others so that there will be an interesting discussion about …   Useful english dictionary

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