[ plee ]
See synonyms for: pleapleas on

  1. an appeal or entreaty: a plea for mercy.

  2. something that is alleged, urged, or pleaded in defense or justification.

  1. an excuse; pretext: He begged off on the plea that his car wasn't working.

  2. Law.

    • an allegation made by, or on behalf of, a party to a legal suit, in support of their claim or defense.

    • a defendant's answer to a legal declaration or charge.

    • (in courts of equity) a plea that admits the truth of the declaration, but alleges special or new matter in avoidance.

    • Obsolete. a suit or action.

Idioms about plea

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

Origin of plea

First recorded in 1175–1225; Middle English ple, earlier plaid from Old French, from early Medieval Latin placitum “law-court, suit, decision, decree,” Latin: “opinion” (literally, “that which is pleasing or agreeable”),placēre “to please”

Other words for plea

Words that may be confused with plea

Words Nearby plea Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023

How to use plea in a sentence

British Dictionary definitions for plea


/ (pliː) /

  1. an earnest entreaty or request: a plea for help

    • law something alleged or pleaded by or on behalf of a party to legal proceedings in support of his claim or defence

    • criminal law the answer made by an accused to the charge: a plea of guilty

    • (in Scotland and formerly in England) a suit or action at law

  1. an excuse, justification, or pretext: he gave the plea of a previous engagement

Origin of 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.