plead

verb
\ˈplēd \
pleaded\ ˈplē-​dəd \ or pled also plead\ ˈpled \; pleading

Definition of plead 

intransitive verb

1 : to argue a case or cause in a court of law

2a : 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

4a : 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

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Other Words from plead

pleadable \ ˈplē-​də-​bəl \ adjective
pleader noun
pleadingly \ ˈplē-​diŋ-​lē \ adverb

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.

Examples of plead in a Sentence

He begged and pleaded, but she would not change her mind. She couldn't afford a lawyer to plead her case. “How do you plead?” asked the judge. “We plead guilty, Your Honor.” He agreed to plead to a lesser charge of manslaughter.
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Recent Examples on the Web

Cohen has pleaded guilty to eight federal crimes, including campaign finance violations related to the payout. Emily Stewart, Vox, "Stormy Daniels’s response to Trump shows how she turns Twitter insults into power," 18 Oct. 2018 The Eurospace report pleads for protectionism to help safeguard its homegrown space industries. Joe Pappalardo, Popular Mechanics, "How American Space Launch Left Europe in the Dust," 18 Oct. 2018 Iacobelli has pleaded guilty and faces up to eight years in prison when he is sentenced in August. Eric D. Lawrence, Detroit Free Press, "Widow of UAW VP Holiefield gets 18 months in federal corruption case," 13 July 2018 Krokos himself eventually pleaded guilty, and received a 138-month prison sentence. Brian Barrett, WIRED, "How the US Government Secretly Sold 'Spy Phones' to Suspects," 13 July 2018 Two of his former officers, Raul Fernandez and Charlie Dayoub, also have pleaded not guilty and are awaiting trial. Charles Rabin, Jay Weaver And David Ovalle, miamiherald, "The chief wanted perfect stats, so cops were told to pin crimes on blacks, probe found," 12 July 2018 Johnson pleaded guilty and received a 20-year sentence. Jessica Anderson, baltimoresun.com, "10 plead guilty in prison smuggling scheme, authorities say," 12 July 2018 All defendants have pleaded not guilty and deny wrongdoing. Steve Vockrodt, kansascity, "A month after Schlitterbahn's opening, four rides remain closed at the KCK water park," 10 July 2018 Evelyn Mack has pleaded guilty to federal charges of using her small private school next to East Mecklenburg High to falsely enroll foreign teens who were being sought by basketball recruiters and coaches. Ann Doss Helms, charlotteobserver, "Charlotte private school was a front for foreign athletes to dodge ICE, feds say," 6 July 2018

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.

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First Known Use of plead

13th century, in the meaning defined at intransitive sense 1

History and Etymology for plead

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

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Statistics for plead

Last Updated

14 Nov 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for plead

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

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More Definitions for plead

plead

verb

English Language Learners Definition of plead

: 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

verb
\ˈplēd \
pleaded or pled\ ˈpled \; pleading

Kids Definition of plead

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.

plead

verb
\ˈplēd \
pleaded or pled also plead\ ˈpled \; pleading

Legal Definition of plead 

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 damagesKumaran 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

Other Words from plead

pleadable adjective
pleader noun

History and Etymology for 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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More from Merriam-Webster on plead

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for plead

Spanish Central: Translation of plead

Nglish: Translation of plead for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of plead for Arabic Speakers

Comments on plead

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