Plea definition

plē
Frequency:
An earnest and urgent request; appeal; entreaty.
noun
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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.

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An earnest request; an appeal.

Spoke out in a plea for greater tolerance.

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An excuse; a pretext.
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The defendant's answer to a formal criminal charge.

Entered a plea of not guilty.

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A defendant's answer in a civil action.
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A special answer in an equity action, setting forth in lieu of a detailed response a basis for dismissing, delaying, or barring the suit.
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A pleading or allegation, now, esp., in a civil action.
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The response of a defendant to criminal charges.

A plea of not guilty.

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An accused person’s formal reply to a charge in a criminal court, the choices being guilty, not guilty, and nolo contendere (no contest).
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An answer in an equity case telling why a suit should be barred, delayed, or dismissed.
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A pleading.
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Plea. One intent on establishing a fact not in the bill that, if established, negates the merit of the complainant’s case.
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Plea. One that contests the grounds of a plaintiff’s case, other than its merits, such as wrong jurisdiction, wrong defendant, or other defects in the procedure.
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Plea. One having two or more distinct and independent grounds of complaint for the same issue and requiring each one of those grounds to be answered separately.
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Plea. One directly responding to the particulars of the plaintiff’s charges.
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A dilatory plea objecting to the time, method or place of the plaintiff’s assertion, but not addressing any of that assertion’s underlying merits.
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A plea for mercy.

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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.

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That which is alleged or pleaded, in defense or in justification.
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(law) That which is alleged by a party in support of his cause.
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(law) The defendant's answer to the plaintiff's declaration and demand.
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(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.

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A statement in defense or justification; excuse.
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A legal proceeding.
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(law) An allegation of fact in a cause, as distinguished from a demurrer.
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Other Word Forms

Noun

Singular:
plea
Plural:
pleas

Origin of plea

  • Middle English plai lawsuit from Old French plai, plaid from Late Latin placitum decree from Latin from neuter past participle of placēre to please plāk-1 in Indo-European roots

    From American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition

  • From Middle English, from Old French plait, plaid, from Medieval Latin placitum (“a decree, sentece, suit, plea, etc., Latin an opinion, determination, prescription, order; literally, that which is pleasing, pleasure"), neuter of placitus, past participle of placere (“to please").

    From Wiktionary