special pleading

noun

Definition of special pleading

1 : the allegation of special or new matter to offset the effect of matter pleaded by the opposite side and admitted, as distinguished from a direct denial of the matter pleaded
2 : misleading argument that presents one point or phase as if it covered the entire question at issue

Examples of special pleading in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web And the other almost entirely on feelings, personal preferences, and special pleading. Dan Mclaughlin, National Review, "Bulverism at The Bulwark," 18 Aug. 2020 If special pleading for the late period is the book’s one real weakness, its great strength is its tone. Joan Acocella, The New Yorker, "Untangling Andy Warhol," 1 June 2020 This is an outstanding example of special pleading on behalf of the wealthy. Michael Hiltzik, latimes.com, "Steve Mnuchin finally finds a respectful audience in Southern California," 30 Apr. 2018

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

1684, in the meaning defined at sense 1

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The first known use of special pleading was in 1684

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Cite this Entry

“Special pleading.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/special%20pleading. Accessed 15 Jan. 2021.

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