plea

noun
\ ˈplē How to pronounce plea (audio) \

Definition of plea

1 : a legal suit or action
2 : an allegation made by a party in support of a cause: such as
a : an allegation of fact — compare demurrer entry 1
b(1) : a defendant's answer to a plaintiff's declaration in common-law practice
(2) : an accused person's answer to a charge or indictment in criminal practice
c : a plea of guilty to an indictment
3 : something offered by way of excuse or justification left early with the plea of a headache
4 : an earnest entreaty : appeal their plea for understanding must be answered

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Choose the Right Synonym for plea

apology, apologia, excuse, plea, pretext, alibi mean matter offered in explanation or defense. apology usually applies to an expression of regret for a mistake or wrong with implied admission of guilt or fault and with or without reference to mitigating or extenuating circumstances. said by way of apology that he would have met them if he could apologia implies not admission of guilt or regret but a desire to make clear the grounds for some course, belief, or position. his speech was an apologia for his foreign policy excuse implies an intent to avoid or remove blame or censure. used illness as an excuse for missing the meeting plea stresses argument or appeal for understanding or sympathy or mercy. her usual plea that she was nearsighted pretext suggests subterfuge and the offering of false reasons or motives in excuse or explanation. used any pretext to get out of work alibi implies a desire to shift blame or evade punishment and imputes mere plausibility to the explanation. his alibi failed to stand scrutiny

Examples of plea in a Sentence

We are making a plea to all companies to stop polluting the environment. The defendant entered a plea of not guilty.
Recent Examples on the Web Stokes is scheduled to appear for another plea hearing June 2. Elliot Hughes, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "One year later, victims of north side mass shooting remembered as suspect's court case gets reinstated," 27 Apr. 2021 Kimberly Loya faces sentencing in July for her guilty plea in September to money laundering conspiracy. Guillermo Contreras, San Antonio Express-News, "Former federal employee admits leaking confidential information to drug traffickers," 20 Apr. 2021 In exchange for the 2017 plea, state murder charges, as well as two other federal charges, were dismissed. Jamiel Lynch, CNN, "A judge declined to toss the federal sentence of ex-officer Michael Slager in fatal Walter Scott shooting," 20 Apr. 2021 Ohio Attorney General Dave Yost’s office dropped a misdemeanor charge of interfering with civil rights and reduced the original felony count of tampering with records to a misdemeanor in exchange for the plea. Cory Shaffer, cleveland, "Judge sends ex-Cuyahoga County jailer who ignored dying inmate to jail," 14 Apr. 2021 In exchange for the guilty plea and seven-year term, prosecutors agreed to drop other felony counts Kuehn faced. Clifford Ward, chicagotribune.com, "Former Round Lake Park man sentenced to 7 years in prison in knife attack," 15 Mar. 2021 But her defense team, led by attorney Steven McCool, filed a joint motion along with federal prosecutors to cancel the trial and prepare for a forthcoming guilty plea. Beth Warren, The Courier-Journal, "Daughter of elusive billionaire cartel kingpin to plead guilty in US," 10 Mar. 2021 Almena’s sentence was in return for his guilty plea. Sarah Ravani, San Francisco Chronicle, "Judge pauses Ghost Ship sentencing hearing, asks defendant if he's on drugs," 8 Mar. 2021 In return for his plea, Kibbe was given six consecutive life sentences in lieu of the death penalty (via The New York Times). Brenna Ehrlich, Rolling Stone, "I-5 Strangler Killed in Prison," 2 Mar. 2021

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'plea.' 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 plea

13th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for plea

Middle English ple, plede, from Anglo-French plai, pleit from Medieval Latin placitum, from Latin, decision, decree, from neuter of placitus, past participle of placēre to please, be decided — more at please

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Time Traveler for plea

Time Traveler

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

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Statistics for plea

Last Updated

29 Apr 2021

Cite this Entry

“Plea.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/plea. Accessed 7 May. 2021.

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More Definitions for plea

plea

noun

English Language Learners Definition of plea

: a serious and emotional request for something
: a statement in which a person who has been accused of a crime says in court that he or she is guilty or not guilty of the crime
: a statement in which a person says that he or she is guilty of a particular crime : a plea of guilty

plea

noun
\ ˈplē How to pronounce plea (audio) \

Kids Definition of plea

1 : an earnest appeal The prisoner made a plea for mercy.
2 : something offered as a defense or excuse

plea

noun
\ ˈplē How to pronounce plea (audio) \

Legal Definition of plea

1a : an allegation of fact in civil litigation made in response to a claim — compare demurrer
b : a defendant's answer to a plaintiff's claim in civil litigation

Note: Under the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, and in states where they have been adopted, civil pleas are abolished, and answers and motions are used instead. Such pleas were used at common law.

dilatory plea \ ˈdi-​lə-​ˌtōr-​ē-​ \
: a common-law plea which is intended to defeat the pending action or proceeding without involving any decision on the merits of the case
plea in abatement
: a plea entered by a party seeking postponement or dismissal of an action by setting forth some matter or defect regarding procedure, jurisdiction, or timing

called also plea of abatement

plea in bar
: a plea that alleges the existence of an absolute bar (as a statute of limitations) to an action
plea of abatement
: plea in abatement in this entry
2a : an accused party's answer to a criminal charge or indictment
b : a plea of guilty
3 : an earnest entreaty

History and Etymology for plea

Anglo-French plei plai legal action, trial, from Old French plait plaid, from Medieval Latin placitum, from Latin, decision, decree, from neuter of placitus, past participle of placēre to please, be decided

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More from Merriam-Webster on plea

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for plea

Nglish: Translation of plea for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of plea for Arabic Speakers

Comments on plea

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