Devil's advocate


      • present alternative viewpoint
        To argue or present a different perspective on an issue or decision, often for the purpose of stimulating critical thinking and debate

      • challenge assumptions
        To challenge commonly held beliefs or assumptions, often in a provocative or confrontational manner, in order to encourage deeper examination and understanding of a topic or idea

    Examples of Devil's advocate

    • Although the evidence clearly points to the suspect's guilt, we need to play devil's advocate and consider the possibility of his innocence.

      The phrase "devil's advocate" refers to someone who argues against a commonly held belief or position, even if they do not necessarily believe in it themselves. In this example, the speaker acknowledges that the evidence supports the suspect's guilt, but they are obligated to consider the possibility of his innocence, as if they were arguing against their own beliefs in order to fully evaluate the case.

    • In order to make a well-rounded decision, we should hear all sides of the argument, even if it means being a devil's advocate for a position we don't agree with.

      This example demonstrates the more general use of the idiom, where it is applied to any situation where a person is required to argue against their own beliefs or preferences in order to fully understand or evaluate a situation.

    • I'm not saying I believe in evolution, but I can't be a devil's advocate for creationism either.

      This example shows how the idiom can be used to indicate a lack of commitment to a particular position, while still acknowledging the need to consider all possible viewpoints.

    • The defense attorney played devil's advocate during the trial, questioning the credibility of the prosecution's witnesses and evidence.

      This example demonstrates how the idiom can be used to describe the role of an attorney in a trial, where they are required to argue against the prosecution's case in order to defend their client.Buckle down and get to work!

    • Before we begin, let's buckle down and make sure we have all the necessary materials and equipment.

      The phrase "buckle down" is used to encourage someone to focus and work diligently on a task. In this example, the speaker is reminding everyone to prepare themselves mentally and physically for the work ahead.

    • I know this project is going to be tough, but we need to buckle down and put in the effort if we want to succeed.

      This example shows how the idiom can be used to motivate and inspire others to work hard, by reminding them of the importance of focus and determination.

    • After a long day of meetings, I'm ready to buckle down and finally get some real work done.

      This example demonstrates how the idiom can be used to indicate a shift in focus or priorities, as the speaker moves from less productive activities (such as meetings) to more productive ones (such as actual work).

    • The team buckled down and worked tirelessly to meet the tight deadline.

      This example shows how the idiom can be used to describe the actions of a group or team, as they come together to focus on a specific task or goal.Pull all-nighters and work until dawn!


    The idiom "devil's advocate" is commonly used to describe someone who presents an alternative viewpoint or challenges assumptions in a discussion or debate. This can be done for the purpose of stimulating critical thinking and promoting a deeper understanding of a topic.

    In some cases, the intention behind playing the devil's advocate may be to discourage someone from pursuing a certain course of action. By presenting the potential negative consequences or flaws in a particular idea, the devil's advocate may be advising against engaging in that activity or task.

    Overall, the use of this idiom suggests a willingness to consider multiple perspectives and challenge traditional ways of thinking. It can also be seen as a way to approach a topic with a critical and open-minded mindset, rather than simply accepting the status quo.

    Origin of "Devil's advocate"

    The origin of the idiom "devil's advocate" can be traced back to the Catholic Church in the 16th century. In the process of canonization (declaring someone a saint), a lawyer was appointed to argue against the candidate's sainthood. This person was known as the "promoter of the faith" or "devil's advocate," as they were tasked with finding any potential flaws or evidence against the candidate's character.

    Over time, the term "devil's advocate" came to be used more broadly to refer to someone who presents a counterargument or opposing viewpoint. It is often used in a less formal setting, such as in a debate or discussion among friends or colleagues.

    The use of this idiom also highlights the idea of a "devil's advocate" as someone who is willing to challenge commonly held beliefs or assumptions. This can be seen as a way to promote critical thinking and stimulate deeper discussions on important topics.