- 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.
- an allegation made by, or on behalf of, a party to a legal suit, in support of his or her 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.
- cop a plea, Slang. cop1(def 5b).
Origin of plea
SynonymsSee more synonyms for plea on Thesaurus.com
Examples from the Web for pleas
There were even heartfelt pleas for consideration, before—what?How to Survive the New Year ‘Gympocalypse’
January 6, 2015
The veteran officer believes Garner might have survived had anybody heeded his pleas.‘I Can’t Breathe!’ ‘I Can’t Breathe!’ A Moral Indictment of Cop Culture
December 4, 2014
Sharpton spoke of the moment they had all seen in the video when Pantaleo kept Garner in a headlock despite his pleas.The Gentle Giant Cut Down by Cops
July 24, 2014
Yes, this is the age of Twitter, where TV shows are saved on the strength of hashtag campaigns and 140-character pleas.Can Maya Rudolph Save the Variety Show?
May 20, 2014
Yet despite his pleas, and perhaps because of his puns, I want to give him a hand.Reporter Miles O’Brien Lost an Arm but None of His Admirable Spirit or Wit
March 2, 2014
I will hear no pleas, I will receive no letter, nor expostulation.Clarissa, Volume 1 (of 9)
Captain Dan's pleas for quiet evenings together at home went for nought.Cap'n Dan's Daughter
Joseph C. Lincoln
Their pleas had gone against the prisoners—at least against Ralph.The Shadow of a Crime
And would these pleas diminish your desire to have his heart's blood?Sir Brook Fossbrooke, Volume II.
Charles James Lever
Make amends to Her, then Sarki Kazunzumi will give his ear to your pleas.Blind Man's Lantern
Allen Kim Lang
- an earnest entreaty or requesta plea for help
- lawsomething alleged or pleaded by or on behalf of a party to legal proceedings in support of his claim or defence
- criminal lawthe answer made by an accused to the chargea plea of guilty
- (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 and History for pleas
early 13c., "lawsuit," from Anglo-French plai (late 12c.), Old French plait "lawsuit, decision, decree" (9c.), from Medieval Latin placitum "lawsuit," in classical Latin, "opinion, decree," literally "that which pleases, thing which is agreed upon," properly neuter past participle of placere (see please). Sense development seems to be from "something pleasant," to "something that pleases both sides," to "something that has been decided." Meaning "a pleading, an agreement in a suit" is attested from late 14c. Plea-bargaining is first attested 1963. Common pleas (early 13c.) originally were legal proceedings over which the Crown did not claim exclusive jurisdiction (as distinct from pleas of the Crown); later "actions brought by one subject against another."
Idioms and Phrases with pleas
see cop a plea.