plea

noun
\ ˈplē \

Definition of plea 

1 : a legal suit or action
2 : an allegation made by a party in support of a cause: such as
a : an allegation of fact — compare demurrer entry 1
b(1) : a defendant's answer to a plaintiff's declaration in common-law practice
(2) : an accused person's answer to a charge or indictment in criminal practice
c : a plea of guilty to an indictment
3 : something offered by way of excuse or justification left early with the plea of a headache
4 : an earnest entreaty : appeal their plea for understanding must be answered

Keep scrolling for more

Choose the Right Synonym for plea

apology, apologia, excuse, plea, pretext, alibi mean matter offered in explanation or defense. apology usually applies to an expression of regret for a mistake or wrong with implied admission of guilt or fault and with or without reference to mitigating or extenuating circumstances. said by way of apology that he would have met them if he could apologia implies not admission of guilt or regret but a desire to make clear the grounds for some course, belief, or position. his speech was an apologia for his foreign policy excuse implies an intent to avoid or remove blame or censure. used illness as an excuse for missing the meeting plea stresses argument or appeal for understanding or sympathy or mercy. her usual plea that she was nearsighted pretext suggests subterfuge and the offering of false reasons or motives in excuse or explanation. used any pretext to get out of work alibi implies a desire to shift blame or evade punishment and imputes mere plausibility to the explanation. his alibi failed to stand scrutiny

Examples of plea in a Sentence

We are making a plea to all companies to stop polluting the environment. The defendant entered a plea of not guilty.

Recent Examples on the Web

Judges have the ability to reject plea deals and require a prosecutor to make a case at trial. Kimberley A. Strassel, WSJ, "Checking Robert Mueller," 13 Dec. 2018 Judges in the same court have recently approved plea deals that offered similarly lenient sentences to two men. Jennifer Wright, Harper's BAZAAR, "Cyntoia Brown Proves Women “With a Past” Have No Future," 12 Dec. 2018 Gypsy, who no longer dates Godejohn, agreed to a plea deal for her role in the murder and is serving a 10-year prison sentence. Rose Minutaglio, Good Housekeeping, "Gypsy Rose Blanchard: A Look Back at Her Surreal Childhood and the Mother She Murdered," 6 Nov. 2018 His lawyer wants him to take a plea deal for 20 years. Carolyn Twersky, Seventeen, "Everything That Happened On "Riverdale" Season 2," 8 Oct. 2018 Second, there was the draft document outlining a false statements charge against conservative commentator Jerome Corsi, who leaked it last month after Mueller’s team provided it to him as part of plea deal talks. Andrew Prokop, Vox, "The Mueller investigation has gotten closer to Donald Trump," 6 Dec. 2018 The measure affords crime victims a series of rights, including to confer with prosecutors and to be notified about plea negotiations and sentencing. Julie K. Brown, The Seattle Times, "Perversion of Justice: Even from jail, sex abuser manipulated the system. His victims were kept in the dark," 4 Dec. 2018 DerpTrolling was potentially implicated in taking down the Sony PlayStation network, and the plea statement apparently confirms this, naming Sony Online Entertainment as one of the companies affected. Adi Robertson, The Verge, "The man behind a spree of gaming network cyberattacks has pleaded guilty," 7 Nov. 2018 And now, as election day is finally upon us, Swift is making one final plea to get people to vote. Christopher Rosa, Glamour, "Watch Taylor Swift Make One Last Plea to Get You to Vote," 6 Nov. 2018

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

See More

First Known Use of plea

13th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for plea

Middle English ple, plede, from Anglo-French plai, pleit from Medieval Latin placitum, from Latin, decision, decree, from neuter of placitus, past participle of placēre to please, be decided — more at please

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about plea

Dictionary Entries near plea

plbg

plbr

PLC

plea

plea bargaining

pleach

plead

Statistics for plea

Last Updated

23 Dec 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for plea

The first known use of plea was in the 13th century

See more words from the same century

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for plea

plea

noun

English Language Learners Definition of plea

: a serious and emotional request for something

law : a statement in which a person who has been accused of a crime says in court that he or she is guilty or not guilty of the crime

: a statement in which a person says that he or she is guilty of a particular crime : a plea of guilty

plea

noun
\ ˈplē \

Kids Definition of plea

1 : an earnest appeal The prisoner made a plea for mercy.
2 : something offered as a defense or excuse

plea

noun
\ ˈplē \

Legal Definition of plea 

1a : an allegation of fact in civil litigation made in response to a claim — compare demurrer
b : a defendant's answer to a plaintiff's claim in civil litigation

Note: Under the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, and in states where they have been adopted, civil pleas are abolished, and answers and motions are used instead. Such pleas were used at common law.

dilatory plea \ ˈdi-​lə-​ˌtōr-​ē-​ \
: a common-law plea which is intended to defeat the pending action or proceeding without involving any decision on the merits of the case
plea in abatement
: a plea entered by a party seeking postponement or dismissal of an action by setting forth some matter or defect regarding procedure, jurisdiction, or timing

called also plea of abatement

plea in bar
: a plea that alleges the existence of an absolute bar (as a statute of limitations) to an action
plea of abatement
: plea in abatement in this entry
2a : an accused party's answer to a criminal charge or indictment
b : a plea of guilty
3 : an earnest entreaty

History and Etymology for plea

Anglo-French plei plai legal action, trial, from Old French plait plaid, from Medieval Latin placitum, from Latin, decision, decree, from neuter of placitus, past participle of placēre to please, be decided

Keep scrolling for more

More from Merriam-Webster on plea

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with plea

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for plea

Spanish Central: Translation of plea

Nglish: Translation of plea for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of plea for Arabic Speakers

Comments on plea

What made you want to look up plea? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).

WORD OF THE DAY

involving abstract or general statements

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Liar, Liar Quiz

  • alt-5761dbe2ba986
  • Someone who pretends to be sick in order to avoid work is a:
How Strong Is Your Vocabulary?

Test your vocabulary with our 10-question quiz!

TAKE THE QUIZ
SCRABBLE® Sprint

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

TAKE THE QUIZ

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!