plead

verb \ ˈplēd \
Updated on: 15 Nov 2017

Definition of plead

pleaded play \ˈplē-dəd\ or pled also plead play \ˈpled\; pleading
intransitive verb
1 :to argue a case or cause in a court of law
2 a :to make an allegation in an action or other legal proceeding; especially :to answer the previous pleading of the other party by denying facts therein stated or by alleging new facts
b :to conduct pleadings
3 :to make a plea of a specified nature
  • plead not guilty
4 a :to argue for or against a claim
b :to entreat or appeal earnestly
transitive verb
1 :to maintain (a case, a cause, etc.) in a court of law or other tribunal
2 :to allege in or by way of a legal plea
3 :to offer as a plea usually in defense, apology, or excuse

pleadable

play \ˈplē-də-bəl\ adjective

pleader

noun

pleadingly

play \ˈplē-diŋ-lē\ adverb

Examples of plead in a Sentence

  1. He begged and pleaded, but she would not change her mind.

  2. She couldn't afford a lawyer to plead her case.

  3. “How do you plead?” asked the judge.

  4. “We plead guilty, Your Honor.”

  5. He agreed to plead to a lesser charge of manslaughter.

Recent Examples of plead from the Web

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

Pleaded vs. Pled

Plead belongs to the same class of verbs as bleed, lead, and feed, and like them it has a past and past participle with a short vowel spelled pled (or sometimes plead, which is pronounced alike). From the beginning, pled has faced competition from the regular form pleaded, which eventually came to predominate in mainstream British English. Pled was and is used in Scottish English, which is likely how it came to American English. In the late 19th and early 20th centuries, pled was attacked by many American usage commentators (perhaps because it was not in good British use). Though still sometimes criticized, it is fully respectable today and both pled (or plead) and pleaded are in good use in the U.S. In legal use (such as “pleaded guilty,” “pled guilty”), both forms are standard, though pleaded is used with greater frequency. In nonlegal use (such as “pleaded for help”), pleaded appears more commonly, though pled is also considered standard.

Origin and Etymology of plead

Middle English pleden, plaiden, from Anglo-French plaider, pleder, from plai plea



PLEAD Defined for English Language Learners

plead

verb

Definition of plead for English Language Learners

  • : to ask for something in a serious and emotional way

  • : to try to prove (a case) in a court of law

  • : to say in court that you are either guilty or not guilty of a crime : to make a plea


PLEAD Defined for Kids

plead

verb \ ˈplēd \

Definition of plead for Students

pleaded or pled \ˈpled\; pleading
1 :to ask for in a serious and emotional way :beg
  • I pleaded for help.
2 :to offer as a defense, an excuse, or an apology
  • To avoid going, I'll plead illness.
3 :to argue for or against :argue in court
  • His lawyer will plead the case before a jury.
4 :to answer to a criminal charge
  • They all plead not guilty.

Law Dictionary

plead

verb \ ˈplēd \

legal Definition of plead

pleaded or pled also plead play \ˈpled\; pleading
intransitive verb
1 :to make an allegation in an action or other legal proceeding; especially :to answer the pleading or charge of the other party by denying facts therein stated or by alleging new facts
  • the defendant shall be given a copy of the indictment or information before the defendant is called upon to plead
  • Kansas Statutes Annotated
— see also alternative
2 :to make a specific plea
  • plead not guilty
; also :to make a plea of guilty
  • agreed to plead to the lesser charge
transitive verb
1 :to allege in or by way of a pleading :state in a pleading
  • unless plaintiff pleads and proves facts showing actual malice, he cannot recover punitive damages
  • Kumaran v. Brotman, 617 N.E.2d 191 (1993)
  • plead a case of fraudulent conveyance
2 :to offer as an excuse
  • cannot plead ignorance of the law

pleadable

adjective

pleader

noun

Origin and Etymology of plead

Anglo-French plaider to argue in a court of law, from Old French plaid legal action, trial — more at plea



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