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  1. the act of a person who pleads.
  2. Law.
    1. the advocating of a cause in a court of law.
    2. the art or science of setting forth or drawing pleas in legal causes.
    3. a formal statement, usually written, setting forth the cause of action or defense of a case.
    4. pleadings,the successive statements delivered alternately by plaintiff and defendant until the issue is joined.
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Origin of pleading

1250–1300; Middle English pledynge (gerund). See plead, -ing1
Related formsplead·ing·ly, adverbplead·ing·ness, nounnon·plead·ing, adjectivenon·plead·ing·ly, adverbun·plead·ing, adjective


verb (used without object), plead·ed or pled, plead·ing.
  1. to appeal or entreat earnestly: to plead for time.
  2. to use arguments or persuasions, as with a person, for or against something: She pleaded with him not to take the job.
  3. to afford an argument or appeal: His youth pleads for him.
  4. Law.
    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. Obsolete.to prosecute a suit or action at law.
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verb (used with object), plead·ed or pled, plead·ing.
  1. to allege or urge in defense, justification, or excuse: to plead ignorance.
  2. Law.
    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.
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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

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1. beg, supplicate. 2. reason. 5. claim.
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Related Words for pleading

begging, beseeching, desirous

Examples from the Web for pleading

Contemporary Examples of pleading

Historical Examples of pleading

  • "I want to go," she said at last, in answer to her hostess' pleading.

  • The man met her pleading eyes steadily, and shook his head in refusal.

    Within the Law

    Marvin Dana

  • And, after all, what good could he do his cause by pleading it?


    Mary Roberts Rinehart

  • My letters of pleading, like my calls and telephone efforts, were still ignored.

  • And all that time Leonora was defending her rival, and pleading her cause!

British Dictionary definitions for pleading


noun law
  1. the act of presenting a case in court, as by a lawyer on behalf of his client
  2. the art or science of preparing the formal written statements of the parties to a legal actionSee also pleadings
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verb pleads, pleading, pleaded, plead (plɛd) or esp US and Scot pled (plɛd)
  1. (when intr, often foll by with) to appeal earnestly or humbly (to)
  2. (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
  3. (intr often foll by for) to provide an argument or appeal (for)her beauty pleads for her
  4. law to declare oneself to be (guilty or not guilty) in answer to the charge
  5. law to advocate (a case) in a court of law
  6. (intr) law
    1. to file pleadings
    2. to address a court as an advocate
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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 pleading


late 13c., "the carrying on of a suit at court," verbal noun from plead (v.). Meaning "supplication, intercession" is from early 15c.

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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.

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper