Definition of pleading

  1. 1 :  advocacy of a cause in a court of law

  2. 2a :  one of the formal usually written allegations and counter allegations made alternately by the parties in a legal action or proceedingb :  the action or process performed by the parties in presenting such formal allegations until a single point at issue is producedc :  the introduction of one of these allegations and especially the first oned :  the body of rules according to which these allegations are framed

  3. 3 :  the act or an instance of making a plea

  4. 4 :  a sincere entreaty

Examples of pleading in a Sentence

  1. I'm tired of their begging and pleading.

  2. Despite our pleadings to be allowed to leave, they kept us there for several more hours.

Recent Examples of pleading from the Web

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

First Known Use of pleading

14th century

PLEADING Defined for English Language Learners



Definition of pleading for English Language Learners

  • : the act of asking for something in a serious and emotional way

  • law : one of the formal, usually written statements made by the two sides of a legal case in a court of law

Law Dictionary


noun plead·ing

Legal Definition of pleading

  1. 1a :  one of the formal declarations (as a complaint or answer) exchanged by the parties in a legal proceeding (as a suit) setting forth claims, averments, allegations, denials, or defenses; also :  a written document embodying such a declaration — see also relation back b :  any of the allegations, averments, claims, denials, or defenses set forth in a pleading alternative pleading :  a pleading that sets out an alternative theory in support of a plaintiff's claim for relief or a defendant's defense amended pleading :  a pleading that is filed to replace an original pleading and that contains matters omitted from or not known at the time of the original pleading responsive pleading \ri-ˈspän-siv-\ :  a pleading that directly responds to another pleading (as by denying in an answer allegations in a complaint) sham pleading :  a pleading that is factually false, is not made in good faith, and that may be struck supplemental pleading :  a pleading that supplements an earlier pleading with matters that have occurred or come into existence since the date of the original pleading

  2. 2 :  a process or system through which the parties in a legal proceeding present their allegations code pleading :  pleading (as fact pleading) done in accordance with the rules set down in a code Editor's note: Code pleading began in 1848 in New York State and was a departure from the complex system of common-law pleading, which included a lengthy set of stages by which a single issue was produced, and which was determined by the type of writ under which the plaintiff proceeded. fact pleading :  pleading that requires a plaintiff to set out in the complaint facts sufficient to establish a cause of action — compare notice pleading in this entry notice pleading :  pleading that is characterized especially by a simplified description sufficient to give notice of a claim or defense rather than by a technical account of any facts pertinent to the claim or defense — compare fact pleading in this entry Editor's note: Notice pleading is allowed under the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure and in a majority of states, although complex cases often require substantial detail in the pleading.

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