plaintiff

noun plain·tiff \ ˈplān-təf \

Definition of plaintiff

:a person who brings a legal action — compare defendant

plaintiff was our Word of the Day on 03/01/2014. Hear the podcast!

Examples of plaintiff in a Sentence

  1. the judge ruled that the plaintiff's lawsuit was groundless, and he dismissed it

Recent Examples of plaintiff from the Web

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.

Did You Know?

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.

Origin and Etymology of plaintiff

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

plaintiff Synonyms

Synonyms
complainant, suer
Antonyms
defendant
Related Words
accuser; litigant, party, suitor; appellant, petitioner, pleader
Near Antonyms
accused

PLAINTIFF Defined for English Language Learners

plaintiff

noun

Definition of plaintiff for English Language Learners

  • law : a person who sues another person or accuses another person of a crime in a court of law


Law Dictionary

plaintiff

noun plain·tiff \ ˈplān-təf \

legal Definition of plaintiff

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

Origin and Etymology of plaintiff

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



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to suppress quietly or indirectly

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