[ plee ]
/ pli /
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See synonyms for: plea / pleas on Thesaurus.com

an appeal or entreaty: a plea for mercy.
something that is alleged, urged, or pleaded in defense or justification.
an excuse; pretext: He begged off on the plea that his car wasn't working.
  1. an allegation made by, or on behalf of, a party to a legal suit, in support of his or her claim or defense.
  2. a defendant's answer to a legal declaration or charge.
  3. (in courts of equity) a plea that admits the truth of the declaration, but alleges special or new matter in avoidance.
  4. Obsolete. a suit or action.
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Idioms about plea

    cop a plea, Slang. cop2 (def. 5b).

Origin of plea

1175–1225; Middle English ple, earlier plaid<Old French <early Medieval Latin placitum law-court, suit, decision, decree, Latin: opinion (literally, that which is pleasing or agreeable), noun use of neuter of past participle of placēre to please


pleas , please
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023


What does plea mean?

A plea is an intense request or appeal.

It’s especially used to imply that the request is passionate and that the person doing the pleading is desperate.

It’s especially used in serious situations. A person might make a plea to their friend to get help with an addiction. A kid might make a plea to their parents begging not to be grounded.

In law, a plea is generally a defendant’s response to an accusation, as in a plea of guilty or not guilty. A plea-bargain is an agreement between a defendant and a prosecutor in which the defendant pleads guilty to a lesser charge. The slang phrase cop a plea refers to this and can be used in nonlegal contexts.

To make a plea is to plead.

Example: When I was a kid, I used to beg my mom not to make me go to the dentist, but she always ignored my pleas.

Where does plea come from?

The first records of plea come from around 1200. It ultimately comes from the Latin verb placēre, meaning “to please.”

A plea is a serious or passionate appeal and is usually made by someone who is desperate or extremely emotional. A plea is always made to another person or entity. In the context of religion, a prayer is often a kind of plea.

In law, plea is used to mean a variety of different things, including the defendant’s answer to the prosecution (a plea of not guilty) or an excuse or defense for one’s actions (a plea of self-defense).

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What are some other forms related to plea?

  • pleas (plural noun)
  • plead (verb)

What are some synonyms for plea?

What are some words that share a root or word element with plea

What are some words that often get used in discussing plea?

How is plea used in real life?

Plea is commonly used when talking about defendants in a legal case. Outside of legal contexts, a passionate request can be called a plea, especially when the person making the request appears to be desperate.



Try using plea!

True or False?

A plea is the answer a person gives when someone else is desperately asking them for something.

How to use plea in a sentence

British Dictionary definitions for plea

/ (pliː) /

an earnest entreaty or requesta plea for help
  1. law something alleged or pleaded by or on behalf of a party to legal proceedings in support of his claim or defence
  2. criminal law the answer made by an accused to the chargea plea of guilty
  3. (in Scotland and formerly in England) a suit or action at law
an excuse, justification, or pretexthe gave the plea of a previous engagement

Word Origin for plea

C13: from Anglo-Norman plai, from Old French plaid lawsuit, from Medieval Latin placitum court order (literally: what is pleasing), from Latin placēre to please
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

Other Idioms and Phrases with plea


see cop a plea.

The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.