[ pleyn-tif ]
/ ˈpleɪn tɪf /

noun Law.

a person who brings suit in a court (opposed to defendant).

Origin of plaintiff

1350–1400; Middle English plaintif complaining person, noun use of the adj.: plaintive

Related forms

plain·tiff·ship, noun

Can be confused

plaintiff plaintive Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for plaintiff

British Dictionary definitions for plaintiff


/ (ˈpleɪntɪf) /


(formerly) a person who brings a civil action in a court of lawNow replaced by: claimant Compare defendant (def. 1)

Word Origin for plaintiff

C14: from legal French plaintif, from Old French plaintif (adj) complaining, from plainte plaint
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012

Culture definitions for plaintiff


The party that institutes a suit in a court. The person or entity the plaintiff sues is the defendant.

The New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.