plead·​ing | \ˈplē-diŋ \

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

The two sides had incredibly filed 21 different pleadings totaling more than 300 pages. Danny Westneat, The Seattle Times, "A $21,634 bill? How a homeless woman fought her way out of tow-company hell," 17 Oct. 2018 There would be no more pleading, arguing, threatening. Linda Dahl, Harper's BAZAAR, "How I (Finally) Learned to Talk to My Drug Addict Daughter," 9 June 2017 The city's legal pleadings in the case say the officers, even if mistaken about some facts, are protected from liability by qualified immunity. Bruce Vielmetti, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "A driver was stopped and arrested, violently, over the color of his car. His lawsuit is finally headed to a resolution.," 14 June 2018 He was convinced, also, that people could not be moved to abolish voluntarily the inhumanity of man to man by mere persuasion and pleading, but that they could be moved to do so by dramatizing the evil through massive nonviolent resistance. Time Staff, Time, "Only One Official Eulogy Was Delivered at Martin Luther King Jr.'s Public Funeral. Read the Full Text Here," 4 Apr. 2018 Once the records are added to Alabama's online court system, historians and others will be able to read the original pleadings filed by Parks' attorneys following her refusal to give her seat to a white man on a Montgomery city bus in 1955. Jay Reeves, Fox News, "Arrest records of Rosa Parks, MLK to be preserved," 20 May 2018 In rebuttal pleadings, Barclay Friends has argued, among other defenses, that the cases should be resolved via binding arbitration and removed from the courts. Craig R. Mccoy,, "Lawsuit alleges 'agonizing and lonely deaths' in Barclay Friends fire," 15 June 2018 His nonfeasance included not filing critical pleadings, not attending hearings, not forwarding files to successor counsel, not refunding unearned fees and not responding to client inquiries. Bruce Vielmetti, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Milwaukee lawyer disbarred on 38 counts of misconduct," 13 July 2018 Within the past month, lawyers for Gallagher and the diocese have outlined their positions in pleadings. Marc Freeman,, "Disgruntled priest asking state Supreme Court to let him sue Catholic Church," 22 June 2018

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

15 Nov 2018

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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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