plead

verb
\ ˈplēd How to pronounce plead (audio) \
pleaded\ ˈplē-​dəd How to pronounce pleaded (audio) \ or pled also plead\ ˈpled How to pronounce plead (audio) \; 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 How to pronounce pleadable (audio) \ adjective
pleader noun
pleadingly \ ˈplē-​diŋ-​lē How to pronounce pleadingly (audio) \ 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 Almost 10 years earlier, in 1994, Van Handel had pleaded guilty to one count of lewd and lascivious behavior with a 14-year-old choirboy and gone to prison. USA Today, "Most priests accused of sexually abusing children were never sent to prison. Here's why," 12 Nov. 2019 The Anthem and Merriweather Post Pavilion, pleaded guilty Thursday (Nov. 7) to one count of solicitation of prostitution, a misdemeanor. Claudia Rosenbaum, Billboard, "9:30 Club Co-Owner Seth Hurwitz Pleads Guilty to Solicitation of Prostitution," 7 Nov. 2019 In other words, if your eyes are pleading with you to stop using a product, listen to them. A.a. Newton, SELF, "Is Your Eye Makeup Actually ‘Eye-Safe’?," 6 Nov. 2019 As Quartz reported in August, Border Patrol agent Jason Andrew McGilvray agreed to resign and forfeit his security clearance after pleading guilty to assaulting a migrant. Justin Rohrlich, Quartz, "Criminal misconduct by US border officers has reached a 5-year high," 24 Oct. 2019 Loughlin and her husband pleaded not guilty to all of those charges. Christian Holub, EW.com, "Lori Loughlin, other parents hit with additional charges in college admissions scandal," 22 Oct. 2019 He was placed on probation for one year after pleading guilty in 2013 to a federal disaster fraud charge. Samantha Ketterer, Houston Chronicle, "Astros fan arrested in alleged assault on Yankees supporter during ALCS game," 15 Oct. 2019 Derby County duo Tom Lawrence and Mason Bennett have pleaded guilty to drink-driving and failing to stop after being involved in an accident on 24th September. SI.com, "Tom Lawrence & Mason Bennett Plead Guilty to Drink-Driving Following Car Crash," 15 Oct. 2019 Yates pleaded guilty to reckless endangerment and served three months in Rikers Island. Brigit Katz, Smithsonian, "A Farewell to Ming, the Siberian-Bengal Tiger Who Spent Three Years in a Harlem Apartment," 7 Oct. 2019

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 2019

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
How to pronounce plead (audio)

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 How to pronounce plead (audio) \
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 How to pronounce plead (audio) \
pleaded or pled also plead\ ˈpled How to pronounce plead (audio) \; 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 pleadKansas 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

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