Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • transitive v. To give enjoyment, pleasure, or satisfaction to; make glad or contented.
  • transitive v. To be the will or desire of: May it please the court to admit this firearm as evidence.
  • intransitive v. To give satisfaction or pleasure; be agreeable: waiters who try hard to please.
  • intransitive v. To have the will or desire; wish: Do as you please. Sit down, if you please.
  • adv. If it is your desire or pleasure; if you please. Used in polite requests: Please stand back. Pay attention, please.
  • adv. Yes. Used in polite affirmative replies to offers: May I help you? Please.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • adv. Used to make a polite request.
  • adv. Used as an affirmative to an offer.
  • adv. An expression of annoyance or impatience.
  • v. To make happy or satisfy; to give pleasure.
  • v. To desire; to will; to be pleased.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • intransitive v. To afford or impart pleasure; to excite agreeable emotions.
  • intransitive v. To have pleasure; to be willing, as a matter of affording pleasure or showing favor; to vouchsafe; to consent.
  • transitive v. To give pleasure to; to excite agreeable sensations or emotions in; to make glad; to gratify; to content; to satisfy.
  • transitive v. To have or take pleasure in; hence, to choose; to wish; to desire; to will.
  • transitive v. To be the will or pleasure of; to seem good to; -- used impersonally.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • To be agreeable to; suit; satisfy; seem good to: used impersonally, and followed by an object, originally dative, of the person: same as like, I.
  • To excite agreeable sensations or emotions in; impart satisfaction, gratification, pleasure, or delight to; gratify; content.
  • To think fit or have the complaisance or kindness; condescend; be good enough; be so kind as: an expression of courtesy, often used ironically.
  • Synonyms To rejoice, gladden, make glad.
  • To like; choose; think fit: as, do as you please.
  • To give pleasure; win approval.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • adv. used in polite request
  • v. give satisfaction
  • v. be the will of or have the will (to)
  • v. give pleasure to or be pleasing to

Etymologies

Middle English plesen, from Old French plaisir; see pleasant.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
Middle English plesen, plaisen, from Old French plaise, conjugated form of plaisir or plaire, from Latin placēre ("to please, to seem good"), from the Proto-Indo-European *plā-k- (“wide and flat”). Displaced native Middle English quemen, queamen ("to please") (from Old English cwēman ("to please")), Middle English biluvien ("to please, delight") (from Middle English bi-, be- + luvien ("to love")), Middle English liken ("to like, please") (from Old English līcian ("to please, be like")), Middle English lusten, listen ("to be pleasing, delight") (from Old English lystan ("to please")). (Wiktionary)
Short for if you please, an intransitive, ergative form taken from if it please you,[2] which replaced pray. (Wiktionary)

Examples

  • The opening chapter of the book here under discussion elicited a raspberry note to budding Scenarists: opening the text with camera directions gives the game away; and please please *please* no more references to that a-photograph-steals-the-soul riff, which I first happened upon in the Ur-text called...

    TEV GIVEAWAY: BEAUTIFUL CHILDREN

  • Great idea, but please *please* promise you won't do that again!

    LOSTCasts 35: Skypecast

  • So please, you whisper to yourself, trying to telepathically bully everyone else in the room--*please* don't ask any questions.

    Katie's business trip, day 2

  • I'm in Boston and I'm not going to phone you because I'm scared you'd hang up, so I'm just arriving at Wooly on Thursday, and for God's sake please, _please_ see me and hear me, my dear, darling friend.

    Murder Crossed

  • Did Louise Littleton suspect, as I did, what she was to "please, _please_ ... hear" and its ramifications?

    Murder Crossed

  • "Please, please, _please_!" they pleaded in chorus.

    Madge Morton's Victory

  • Harry, thus free to marry, had persuaded Rose to wait no longer; the event was to be on a Monday not quite two weeks ahead, and Norma was please, _please_, PLEASE to come down as soon as she could.

    The Beloved Woman

  • "Oh please -- _please_!" was the girl's panic-stricken whisper.

    The Visioning

  • "Julie," he whispered, "my darling, say you'll marry me -- please, _please_!"

    Simon Called Peter

  • "Oh, please, don't when I ask you; _please_," says she.

    Pan

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Comments

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  • '"He simply said, 'Please. Please, I need to live.' Twas the please that caught my memory. I asked what was so important for him. 'True love,' he replied."' -Westley, from The Princess Bride

    February 19, 2008