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

At the time Northam and Herring put on black makeup, Hollywood and popular culture still sent messages that racial stereotypes and racist imagery were comical and harmless, despite pleas from civil rights groups and black newspapers. Russell Contreras, The Seattle Times, "Before multiculturalism, blackface rampant in US pop culture," 10 Feb. 2019 Washington herself made an emotional plea for the suspect to surrender to authorities from her hospital bed. Jameelah Nasheed, Teen Vogue, "A Gunman Opened Fire on a Black Family, Killing 7-Year-Old Jazmine Barnes," 2 Jan. 2019 This sale embodied its own kind of bleakness — that of hollow consumer empowerment, of corporate pleas for relevance, of family members too unfamiliar to pick out the right pair of shoes. Jamie Lauren Keiles, Vox, "The bleak hope of the day-after-Christmas sale," 27 Dec. 2018 But perhaps most impactful was the Queen's plea for kindness and respect in our modern society. Caroline Hallemann, Town & Country, "Queen Elizabeth's Christmas Message Reflects on the Royal Family's 'Busy Year'," 25 Dec. 2018 On a recent episode of Britain's Got Talent, Simon bashfully responded to his fellow judge's plea for a romantic proposal. Amanda Garrity, Good Housekeeping, "Simon Cowell and Partner Lauren Silverman Have a Controversial Love Story," 18 Sep. 2018 Despite pleas to fill all vacant seats, Mayor Ron Morrison appointed only one new member, who was confirmed by the City Council. David Hernandez, sandiegouniontribune.com, "Residents angry over death of man arrested by police call for full staffing of review board," 9 July 2018 The attack followed a brawl between white nationalists and counterprotesters that resulted later in charges and a guilty plea from former Mason resident Daniel Borden, 19. Robert Strickley, Cincinnati.com, "NKY native James Alex Fields pleads not guilty in Charlottesville attack," 5 July 2018 The special counsel’s office has obtained guilty pleas and convictions at trial of multiple senior Trump advisers, several of whom admitted to misleading investigators about contacts with Russians or Russian intermediaries. Shelby Holliday, WSJ, "Trump Adviser Roger Stone Charged as Part of Mueller Investigation," 25 Jan. 2019

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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Learn More about plea

Dictionary Entries near plea

plbg

plbr

PLC

plea

plea bargaining

pleach

plead

Statistics for plea

Last Updated

18 Mar 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for plea

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

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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

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with plea

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for plea

Spanish Central: Translation of plea

Nglish: Translation of plea for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of plea for Arabic Speakers

Comments on plea

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