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

  • intransitive v. To appeal earnestly; beg: plead for more time.
  • intransitive v. To offer reasons for or against something; argue earnestly: plead against a bill.
  • intransitive v. To provide an argument or appeal: Your youth pleads for you in this instance.
  • intransitive v. Law To put forward a plea of a specific nature in court: plead guilty.
  • intransitive v. Law To make or answer an allegation in a legal proceeding.
  • intransitive v. Law To address a court as a lawyer or advocate.
  • transitive v. To assert as defense, vindication, or excuse; claim as a plea: plead illness.
  • transitive v. Law To present as an answer to a charge, indictment, or declaration made against one.
  • transitive v. Law To argue or present (a case) in a court or similar tribunal.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • v. To present an argument, especially in a legal case.
  • v. To beg, beseech, or implore.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • transitive v. To argue in support of a claim, or in defense against the claim of another; to urge reasons for or against a thing; to attempt to persuade one by argument or supplication; to speak by way of persuasion
  • transitive v. To present an answer, by allegation of fact, to the declaration of a plaintiff; to deny the plaintiff's declaration and demand, or to allege facts which show that ought not to recover in the suit; in a less strict sense, to make an allegation of fact in a cause; to carry on the allegations of the respective parties in a cause; to carry on a suit or plea.
  • transitive v. To contend; to struggle.
  • transitive v. To discuss, defend, and attempt to maintain by arguments or reasons presented to a tribunal or person having uthority to determine; to argue at the bar.
  • transitive v. To allege or cite in a legal plea or defense, or for repelling a demand in law; to answer to an indictment
  • transitive v. To allege or adduce in proof, support, or vendication; to offer in excuse.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • In law, to present an answer to the declaration or complaint of a plaintiff, or the charge of a prosecutor; deny the plaintiff's declaration or complaint, or allege facts relied on as showing that he ought not to recover in the suit.
  • To urge a plea, an argument, or an excuse for or against a claim, or in support, justification, extenuation, etc.; endeavor to persuade by argument or supplication; urge reasons or use argument: as, to plead with a judge for a criminal or in his favor; to plead with a wrongdoer, urging him to reform.
  • To sue; make application; enter a plea or an argument.
  • To argue or prosecute causes; contend.
  • To discuss, defend, and attempt to maintain by arguments or reasons offered to the person or tribunal that has the power of determining; argue: as, to plead a cause before a court or jury.
  • To urge or allege in extenuation, justification, or defense; adduce in proof, support, or vindication: as, to plead poverty as an excuse for stealing.
  • To set forth in a plea or defense; interpose a plea of: as, to plead a statute of limitations.

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

  • v. appeal or request earnestly
  • v. make an allegation in an action or other legal proceeding, especially answer the previous pleading of the other party by denying facts therein stated or by alleging new facts
  • v. offer as an excuse or plea
  • v. enter a plea, as in courts of law


Middle English pleden, plaiden, from Old French plaidier, from Medieval Latin placitāre, to appeal to the law, from Late Latin placitum, decree, opinion; see plea.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
From Middle English pleden, plaiden, from Old French plaider ("to plead, offer a plea"), from plait, from Medieval Latin placitum ("a decree, sentence, suit, plea, etc.", in Classical Latin, "an opinion, determination, prescription, order; literally, that which is pleasing, pleasure"), neuter of placitus, past participle of placere ("to please"). (Wiktionary)



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  • To plead with: to beg something of someone

    May 26, 2013