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 His analysis was carefully mixed with a touch of special pleading and a large slice of humble pie. Patrick Frater, Variety, 18 Aug. 2021 Friedersdorf quotes are plainly engaged in special pleading. Michael Hiltzik, Los Angeles Times, 23 July 2021 There’s the aspect in these petitions of special pleading — Khan appears to be un-capturable, which is why her targets have the knives out. Michael Hiltzik, Los Angeles Times, 15 July 2021 This is a cad’s special pleading, but most cads don’t have Roth’s mountains of evidence. Sam Sacks, WSJ, 2 Apr. 2021 And the other almost entirely on feelings, personal preferences, and special pleading. Dan Mclaughlin, National Review, 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, 1 June 2020 This is an outstanding example of special pleading on behalf of the wealthy. Michael Hiltzik, latimes.com, 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.

See More

First Known Use of special pleading

1684, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Learn More About special pleading

Time Traveler for special pleading

Time Traveler

The first known use of special pleading was in 1684

See more words from the same year

Dictionary Entries Near special pleading

special pleader

special pleading

special plea in bar

See More Nearby Entries 

Statistics for special pleading

Cite this Entry

“Special pleading.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/special%20pleading. Accessed 25 Jan. 2022.

Style: MLA
MLACheck Mark Icon ChicagoCheck Mark Icon APACheck Mark Icon Merriam-WebsterCheck Mark Icon

WORD OF THE DAY

Test Your Vocabulary

Difficult Spelling Words Quiz

  • alphabet pasta spelling help
  • Which is the correct spelling?
Name That Thing

Test your visual vocabulary with our 10-question challenge!

TAKE THE QUIZ
Universal Daily Crossword

A daily challenge for crossword fanatics.

TAKE THE QUIZ
Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!