plead·​ing | \ ˈplē-diŋ How to pronounce pleading (audio) \

Definition of pleading

1 : advocacy of a cause in a court of law
2a : one of the formal usually written allegations and counter allegations made alternately by the parties in a legal action or proceeding
b : the action or process performed by the parties in presenting such formal allegations until a single point at issue is produced
c : the introduction of one of these allegations and especially the first one
d : the body of rules according to which these allegations are framed
3 : the act or an instance of making a plea
4 : a sincere entreaty

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Examples of pleading in a Sentence

I'm tired of their begging and pleading. Despite our pleadings to be allowed to leave, they kept us there for several more hours.

Recent Examples on the Web

After the beating, gang members escorted him to a different bed, where a gang leader held court, Wilemon wrote in his pleading, which is pending. Jerry Mitchell, ProPublica, "Inside The Prison Where Inmates Set Each Other On Fire and Gangs Have More Power Than Guards," 19 Aug. 2019 But what really frustrates me isn’t the persistence of special pleading across shifts in partisan control — which is, as Burke pointed out, a predictable manifestation of unalterable human nature. John Hood, National Review, "New Nationalists Make Three Big Bets," 28 Aug. 2019 When Underwood and the other defendants answer Merrill’s complaint and file other pleadings, different and in some instances contradictory facts will be presented. Michael Mccann,, "Game On: Inside the Lawsuit Against the 'Sunday Night Football' Theme Song," 6 July 2019 Press coverage of the matter has been unequivocally negative, despite the federal pleadings and Auburn’s investigation, which revealed that the misconduct was driven by and largely isolated to Person. Sam Blum |,, "Auburn expects basketball program to receive Notice of Allegations from NCAA," 18 July 2019 Others let go Several administrators were let go at the same time as Wasko and the district claimed in pleadings that none of them was paid more than 25 vacation days. John Wisely, Detroit Free Press, "Former Detroit school official seeks $41,193 payout for unused vacation days," 21 June 2019 But the sides reached an agreement in December to settle the complaints out of court, and each agreed to dismiss the claims, according to the pleadings. Cory Shaffer,, "Lawyer’s attempt to refer Roger Synenberg to treatment program over ‘snitch’ letter backfires, elicits judge’s ire," 10 June 2019 Google also brought a motion on the pleadings as to Burn's claim that the company discriminates against Asian job applicants. Ashley Cullins, The Hollywood Reporter, "Google Can't Dodge Class Action Alleging Bias Against Conservative Job Applicants," 7 June 2019 Moved by Esther’s tearful pleading, the king then gave out another decree, authorizing all Jews in his kingdom to bear arms so as to defend themselves. National Geographic, "Did Queen Esther’s beauty or bravery foil a massacre?," 8 Mar. 2019

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.

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First Known Use of pleading

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

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Statistics for pleading

Last Updated

4 Oct 2019

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Time Traveler for pleading

The first known use of pleading was in the 14th century

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More Definitions for pleading



English Language Learners Definition of pleading

: 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



Legal Definition of pleading

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 : 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

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

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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