Definition of plead in English:

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Pronunciation: /plēd/

verb (past pleaded or pled /pled/)

1 [reporting verb] Make an emotional appeal: [no object]: they pleaded with Carol to come home again [with direct speech]: “Don’t go,” she pleaded [with infinitive]: Anne pleaded to go with her
More example sentences
  • They just dragged Eamon from the bed, threw him all the way down the stairs, lay him on his back and beat him with sticks embedded with huge nails while my parents pleaded with them to leave him alone because of his age.
  • ‘The police will create problems for you and us also sir,’ was how a restaurant manager at Dilsukhnagar pleaded with a group of doctors.
  • McGraw pleaded with the crowd not to pay their way into yesterday's match, declaring: ‘The only way to make him suffer is by not paying in.’
beg, implore, entreat, appeal to, supplicate, importune, petition, request, ask, call on
literary beseech
2 [with object] Present and argue for (a position), especially in court or in another public context: using cheap melodrama to plead the case for three prisoners
More example sentences
  • Now he stands accused of inadequately pleading his position, of mocking the people, and is instructed to try again to seek their approval.
  • I have set out the material part of the pleadings because it is of some importance in this case to see how the case was pleaded and presented in the court below.
  • My mother particularly thought I'd make a very good barrister, and you know, do I think I could plead a case in court?
2.1 [no object] Law Address a court as an advocate on behalf of a party.
Example sentences
  • A court should only grant a motion for particulars where they are necessary for the moving party to plead and the particulars are not within the knowledge of the moving party.
  • Advocacy commonly is defined as pleading on behalf of another.
  • In some judicial courts in the early eighteenth century, attorneys had to kneel while university-educated advocates pleaded at the bar.
2.2 [no object, with complement] Law State formally in court whether one is guilty or not guilty of the offense with which one is charged: he pleaded guilty to the drug charge
More example sentences
  • I thought you had conceded earlier that as originally framed, it would not have been appropriate to expect the accused to plead guilty to that charge.
  • In the adversarial system at the beginning of trial proceedings the court asks the defendant whether he pleads guilty or not guilty.
  • I went into court and I pleaded guilty to the charge of common assault.
2.3 Law Invoke (a reason or a point of law) as an accusation or defense: on trial for attempted murder, she pleaded self-defense
More example sentences
  • As counsel for the Bank has pointed out, the Statement of Defence does not plead unconscionability.
  • I notice that the Commonwealth, by its defence, does not plead any statute of limitations.
  • If she wants to plead good reason on this occasion, she also needs to apologise.
2.4Offer or present as an excuse for doing or not doing something: he pleaded family commitments as a reason for not attending
More example sentences
  • Britain, pleading her constitutional position, did not sign, though the prince regent expressed personal approval.
  • So if the excisable good in question were alleged to be brandy, how would the pleader plead the nature of those goods?
  • How can one plead ignorance in the presence of this massive and continuous universal call?


In a court of law, a person can plead guilty or plead not guilty. The phrase plead innocent, although commonly found in general use, is not a technical legal term. Note that one pleads guilty to (not of) an offense, and may be found guilty of an offense. See also innocent (usage).



Pronunciation: /ˈplēdər/
Example sentences
  • That may or may not say something about English pleaders, English advocates, and English jurors.
  • Meanwhile, a Washington Post editorial was fuming that Congress ‘caved in to the special pleaders.’
  • Unions are special pleaders; no one mistakes them for impartial observers or disinterested honest brokers.


Pronunciation: /ˈplēdiNGlē/
Example sentences
  • Knowing not where to hide from shame, Momma looked pleadingly first at the woman and then at the two young men who had by now recognised him.
  • He looked up, hopefully, pleadingly, for a spot kick, and instead saw a corner awarded.
  • Thomas looked at him pleadingly, but Brandon showed no mercy.


Middle English (in the sense 'to wrangle'): from Old French plaidier 'resort to legal action', from plaid 'discussion' (see plea).

Words that rhyme with plead

accede, bead, Bede, bleed, breed, cede, concede, creed, deed, Eid, exceed, feed, Gide, God speed, greed, he'd, heed, impede, interbreed, intercede, Jamshid, knead, lead, mead, Mede, meed, misdeed, mislead, misread, need, proceed, read, rede, reed, Reid, retrocede, screed, secede, seed, she'd, speed, stampede, steed, succeed, supersede, Swede, tweed, weak-kneed, we'd, weed

For editors and proofreaders

Syllabification: plead

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