- The definition of a plea is an urgent or desperate request, or an official statement made by a defendant in a court as to whether he is guilty or innocent.
- When you are very thirsty and you beg for a drink desperately, this is an example of a plea.
- "Not guilty" is an example of a plea made by a defendant who does not wish to admit guilt for the crime for which he is accused.
- a statement in defense or justification; excuse
- an earnest and urgent request; appeal; entreaty
- a pleading or allegation, now, esp., in a civil action
- the response of a defendant to criminal charges: a plea of not guilty
Origin of pleaMiddle English plai ; from Old French plaid, suit, plea ; from Classical Latin placitum, opinion, order, origin, originally that which is pleasing, origin, originally neuter past participle of placere, to please
- An earnest request; an appeal: spoke out in a plea for greater tolerance.
- An excuse; a pretext: “[The] colonel &ellipsis; hid first behind a stump and then worked his way to the rear on the plea of a sore back” (William Marvel).
- Law a. The defendant's answer to a formal criminal charge: entered a plea of not guilty.b. A defendant's answer in a civil action.c. A special answer in an equity action, setting forth in lieu of a detailed response a basis for dismissing, delaying, or barring the suit.d. A legal proceeding.
Origin of pleaMiddle English plai, lawsuit, from Old French plai, plaid, from Late Latin placitum, decree, from Latin, from neuter past participle of placēre, to please; see plāk-1 in Indo-European roots.
- An appeal, petition, urgent prayer or entreaty.
- a plea for mercy
- An excuse; an apology.
- 1667, Necessity, the tyrant’s plea. --John Milton, Paradise Lost IV.393
- No plea must serve; ‘t is cruelty to spare. -- Sir John Denham.
- That which is alleged or pleaded, in defense or in justification.
- (law) That which is alleged by a party in support of his cause.
- (law) An allegation of fact in a cause, as distinguished from a demurrer.
- (law) The defendant’s answer to the plaintiff’s declaration and demand.
- (law) A cause in court; a lawsuit; as, the Court of Common Pleas. See under Common.
- The Supreme Judicial Court shall have cognizance of pleas real, personal, and mixed. --Laws of Massachusetts.
In 19th century U.K. law, that which the plaintiff alleges in his declaration is answered and repelled or justified by the defendant’s plea. In chancery practice, a plea is a special answer showing or relying upon one or more things as a cause why the suit should be either dismissed, delayed, or barred. In criminal practice, the plea is the defendant’s formal answer to the indictment or information presented against him/her.
plea - Legal Definition
- An accused person’s formal reply to a charge in a criminal court, the choices being guilty, not guilty, and nolo contendere (no contest).
- An answer in an equity case telling why a suit should be barred, delayed, or dismissed.
- A pleading.