This is my first post in StackExchange. Please do tell if I made any mistakes.

I'm looking for a phrase or word that fits this situation:

A person (referred as X below) in a community, presumably having some sort of power, takes an approach that the vast majority of the community disagrees.
Another person (Y) tries to defend X but is frowned upon by the others.

One of them commented:

"Stop ______, Y. It's disgusting. We all despise X and nobody here should be with him."

Some words like "defending", "convoying" might do, but I wish to use a phrase that adds an obviously negative sense to the context.
Is there a phrase or word that applies for the person's comment?

Any help will be appreciated.

Thanks in advance.

  • 1
    It's not a verb, so I'll merely comment, but 'apologist' seems to describe Y. "Stop being an X-apologist, Y."
    – DyingIsFun
    Jun 2, 2016 at 2:35
  • Stop supporting/promoting, Y
    – NVZ
    Jun 2, 2016 at 3:51
  • I agree with @Silenus. Why not post it as an answer? You could alternatively phrase it as "Don't be an apologist for X".
    – David
    Jun 2, 2016 at 7:49
  • related but not exactly right: 'devil's advocate'.
    – Mitch
    Jun 5, 2016 at 21:30

6 Answers 6


An apologist is "a person who offers an argument in defense of something controversial" (here).

This can be made to work in your example as something like:

  • Stop being an apologist for X.
  • Stop being an X-apologist.

Despite the fact that it is not a verb, I think this word works better than the other suggestions so far since it is the only one that explicitly mentions in its definition the notion of controversy.

Polemicize may also work. It means (roughly) to give a controversial argument or an argument for something controversial.

  • Stop polemicizing.
  • Stop polemicizing for X.

The word abetting could work, but this suggests that Y is not only defending the negatives of X, but is also encouraging it. This word, however, does capture the negative sense you are looking for.

(As defined on dictionary.com)

abet - to encourage, support, or countenance by aid or approval, usually in wrongdoing


There's a section in King Lear where the hapless king, lost and confused, is wondering through the wilderness:

Oh, oh, Edmund, I don’t like this monstrous business. When I asked the Duke and Duchess of Cornwall if I could take pity on the king and shelter him from the storm, they took my house away from me and ordered me never to talk about him, lobby for him, or support him in any way.

We could probably use 'tak[ing] pity on,' 'lobby[ing] for' or 'support[ing]' here, if we wanted to.


Stop championing, Y...

Merriam Webster

To fight or speak publicly in support of (a person, cause group).


Depending on the sincerity of the defence, for instance if the person is simply defending the right to make an unpopular opinion heard, you might say the person defending Y is a Devil's advocate

a person who advocates an opposing or unpopular cause for the sake of argument or to expose it to a thorough examination.


The phrase "to advocate for" could be apt in the situation you describe.

"Stop advocating for X, Y. It's disgusting. We all despise X and nobody here should be with him."

To advocate is to come alongside a person to support, encourage, and generally to defend (as a lawyer would defend a client) the person for whom others are unsympathetic.

  • Although this usage of advocate as an intransitive verb with the preposition *for" is becoming increasingly popular, it is not yet accepted by everybody. See e.g. brians.wsu.edu/2016/05/16/advocate-for Sep 19, 2017 at 22:34
  • @BlaiseZydeco: Good point. I actually prefer "polemicizing." Don Sep 20, 2017 at 0:47

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