verb (used without object), plead·ed or pled, plead·ing.

to appeal or entreat earnestly: to plead for time.
to use arguments or persuasions, as with a person, for or against something: She pleaded with him not to take the job.
to afford an argument or appeal: His youth pleads for him.
  1. to make any allegation or plea in an action at law.
  2. to put forward an answer on the part of a defendant to a legal declaration or charge.
  3. to address a court as an advocate.
  4. prosecute a suit or action at law.

verb (used with object), plead·ed or pled, plead·ing.

to allege or urge in defense, justification, or excuse: to plead ignorance.
  1. to maintain (a cause) by argument before a court.
  2. to allege or set forth (something) formally in an action at law.
  3. to allege or cite in legal defense: to plead a statute of limitations.

Origin of plead

1200–50; Middle English plaiden < Old French plaid(i)er to go to law, plead < early Medieval Latin placitāre to litigate, derivative of Latin placitum opinion. See plea
Related formsre·plead, verb, re·plead·ed, re·plead·ing.un·plead·ed, adjective

Synonyms for plead

1. beg, supplicate. 2. reason. 5. claim. Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for plead

Contemporary Examples of plead

Historical Examples of plead

  • Now, to plead for the Wattevilles would mean nothing in Paris, but here!

    Albert Savarus

    Honore de Balzac

  • The second interview she had solicited in order to plead the cause of one of her personal friends, condemned to transportation.

  • He went to Washington to plead for the tribe, and returning, left his wigwam among the Indians after a time, and went to Texas.

    Tenting on the Plains

    Elizabeth B. Custer

  • It was like her, too, that she made no outcry; that she did not shed tears or plead with him.

    Brand Blotters

    William MacLeod Raine

  • If my views are erroneous, as exhibited in these lectures, I cannot plead that they have been hastily adopted.

British Dictionary definitions for plead


verb pleads, pleading, pleaded, plead (plɛd) or esp US and Scot pled (plɛd)

(when intr, often foll by with) to appeal earnestly or humbly (to)
(tr; may take a clause as object) to give as an excuse; offer in justification or extenuationto plead ignorance; he pleaded that he was insane
(intr often foll by for) to provide an argument or appeal (for)her beauty pleads for her
law to declare oneself to be (guilty or not guilty) in answer to the charge
law to advocate (a case) in a court of law
(intr) law
  1. to file pleadings
  2. to address a court as an advocate
Derived Formspleadable, adjectivepleader, noun

Word Origin for plead

C13: from Old French plaidier, from Medieval Latin placitāre to have a lawsuit, from Latin placēre to please; see plea
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

Word Origin and History for plead

mid-13c., "make a plea in court," from Anglo-French pleder, Old French plaidier, "plead at court" (11c.), from Medieval Latin placitare, from Late Latin placitum (see plea). Sense of "request, beg" first recorded late 14c. Related: Pleaded; pleading; pleadingly.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper