take/plead the Fifth

Definition of take/plead the Fifth

chiefly US

  1. :  to refuse to answer questions in a court of law because the answers might be harmful to one or might show that one has committed a crime When called to testify, he took the Fifth. —often used figuratively He took the Fifth when his wife asked him where he'd spent the night. The phrase take/plead the Fifth refers to the Fifth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution, which says that citizens of the U.S. cannot be required to give testimony that could be used against them in a court of law.

Word by Word Definitions

  1. :  to get into one's hands or into one's possession, power, or control: such as

    :  to seize or capture physically

    :  to get possession of (fish or game) by killing or capturing

  1. :  something that is taken:

    :  the amount of money received :  proceeds, receipts, income

    :  share, cut

  1. :  to argue a case or cause in a court of law

    :  to make an allegation in an action or other legal proceeding

    :  to answer the previous pleading of the other party by denying facts therein stated or by alleging new facts

fifthplay Fifth
  1. :  the musical interval embracing five diatonic degrees

    :  a tone at this interval

    :  dominant

Seen and Heard

What made you want to look up take/plead the Fifth? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


to criticize severely

Get Word of the Day daily email!