plaintiff

noun
plain·​tiff | \ ˈplān-təf How to pronounce plaintiff (audio) \

Definition of plaintiff

: a person who brings a legal action — compare defendant

Synonyms & Antonyms for plaintiff

Synonyms

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We won't complain about the origins of plaintiff, although complain and plaintiff are distantly related; both can be traced back to plangere, a Latin word meaning "to strike, beat one's breast, or lament." Plaintiff comes most immediately from Middle English plaintif, itself an Anglo-French borrowing tracing back to plaint, meaning "lamentation." (The English word plaintive is also related.) Logically enough, plaintiff applies to the one who does the complaining in a legal case.

Examples of plaintiff in a Sentence

the judge ruled that the plaintiff's lawsuit was groundless, and he dismissed it
Recent Examples on the Web In March 2017, Jerry Richman, the father of victim Avielle Richman and a lawsuit plaintiff, committed suicide. Nikki Mccann Ramirez, Rolling Stone, 4 Aug. 2022 The plaintiff, now in his mid-40s and living outside of Massachusetts, was inspired to come forward by others who have reported allegations of abuse that occurred decades ago, said his attorney, Carmen Durso. Mark Pratt, BostonGlobe.com, 2 Aug. 2022 The plaintiff, now in his mid-40s and living outside of Massachusetts, was inspired to come forward by others who have reported allegations of abuse that occurred decades ago, said his attorney, Carmen Durso. Detroit Free Press, 2 Aug. 2022 This time, however, the federal government is the plaintiff, not the defendant. Charlie Savage, New York Times, 2 Aug. 2022 The plaintiff, represented by Buzbee like the other 22, changed her mind and decided to file the suit after watching the HBO interviews on Real Sports with Bryant Gumbel that aired the week prior. Ashley Bastock, cleveland, 1 Aug. 2022 Boston contended that the Bill of Rights blocks government from promoting any religion, but the plaintiff — the Camp Constitution organization — countered that the city had discriminated against it after approving other non-governmental flags. Don Stacom, Hartford Courant, 28 July 2022 Baylor sued the city in 2019, claiming he and another plaintiff, Leonard Ferguson, were injured in a 2016 crash when Baltimore Police Officer Timothy George drove into an intersection. Emily Opilo, Baltimore Sun, 27 July 2022 Her office is the plaintiff in cases against Cisterra and its lender, CGA Capital of Maryland, and is also a defendant in the lawsuit filed by taxpayer John Gordon. Jeff Mcdonald, San Diego Union-Tribune, 20 July 2022 See More

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'plaintiff.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

First Known Use of plaintiff

14th century, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for plaintiff

Middle English plaintif, from Anglo-French, from pleintif, adjective

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The first known use of plaintiff was in the 14th century

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Dictionary Entries Near plaintiff

plaintful

plaintiff

plain tire

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Last Updated

7 Aug 2022

Cite this Entry

“Plaintiff.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/plaintiff. Accessed 14 Aug. 2022.

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More Definitions for plaintiff

plaintiff

noun
plain·​tiff | \ ˈplān-təf How to pronounce plaintiff (audio) \

Legal Definition of plaintiff

: the party who institutes a legal action or claim (as a counterclaim) — see also complainant, complaint, libellant — compare defendant, prosecution

History and Etymology for plaintiff

Middle French plaintif, from plaintif, adj., grieving, from plaint lamentation, from Latin planctus, from plangere to strike, beat one's breast, lament

More from Merriam-Webster on plaintiff

Nglish: Translation of plaintiff for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of plaintiff for Arabic Speakers

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about plaintiff

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