Definition of appeal in English:

Share this entry


Pronunciation: /əˈpiːl/


[no object]
1Make a serious, urgent, or heartfelt request: police are appealing for information about the incident she appealed to Germany for political asylum
More example sentences
  • Anxious residents living near a Morden school are appealing for urgent traffic calming measures at an accident blackspot, which they say has become a daily danger to children.
  • Naturally this is a very serious incident and we are appealing for any of the passengers on the bus to contact us, as they may have seen something or be able to give a description of this man.
  • Police are appealing for Blackburn clubbers to come forward after a serious assault near a town centre night club.
ask urgently/earnestly, request urgently/earnestly, make an urgent/earnest request, call, make a plea, plead, beg;
1.1 (appeal to) Try to persuade someone to do something by calling on (a particular principle or quality): I appealed to his sense of justice
More example sentences
  • The whole point about folk and dance music is that it appeals to an organic urge to dance.
  • Now, record executives are appealing to ethics to urge parents to stamp out pirating.
  • The media always justifies its excesses by appealing to the doctrine of press freedom.
1.2 Cricket (Of the bowler or fielders) call on the umpire to declare a batsman out, traditionally with a shout of ‘How’s that?’.
Example sentences
  • Morally, there's no difference between a batsman who chooses to stay, knowing that he is out, and a wicketkeeper who appeals against a batsman knowing he isn't.
  • He takes a proactive role in dealing with home-plate umpires, appealing check-swing calls and soothing pitchers.
  • The local players kept on appealing at every turn, despite the umpire turning it down.
2 Law Apply to a higher court for a reversal of the decision of a lower court: he said he would appeal against the conviction
More example sentences
  • Prosecution lawyers now have two or three days in which they can apply to appeal against the decision.
  • If enforcement is authorised, the party against whom enforcement is sought may appeal against the decision within one month of service thereof.
  • Do you say that the respondent appealed or sought special leave to appeal against that decision?
2.1 [with object] chiefly North American Apply to a higher court for a reversal of (the decision of a lower court): they have 48 hours to appeal the decision
3Be attractive or interesting: the range of topics will appeal to youngsters
More example sentences
  • This group will appeal if your interest lies in a somewhat more contemporary repertory.
  • The book will appeal broadly to scholars interested in colonial agriculture and economics.
  • This autobiography will appeal most to those interested in the history of the Chattahoochee Valley.
attract, be attractive to, interest, be of interest to, please, take someone's fancy, charm, engage, fascinate, intrigue, tempt, entice, allure, beguile, lure, invite, draw, whet someone's appetite
informal float someone's boat, tickle someone's fancy


1A serious, urgent, or heartfelt request: his mother made an appeal for the return of the ring
More example sentences
  • An urgent appeal went out on Radio 3 for the missing four.
  • This is an urgent appeal for drivers to deliver meals on wheels.
  • An urgent appeal has now gone out from the small group asking for others to help out to keep the festival alive.
1.1 Cricket A shout of ‘How’s that?’ or a similar call by a bowler or fielder to an umpire to declare a batsman out.
Example sentences
  • A few full-throated appeals for lbw nearly always find the umpire's approval.
  • He overcame the initial seam movement, two perilously close lbw appeals and a few edgy moments before settling down into a dogged mode.
  • Now umpires are calling for TV replays to settle LBW appeals.
1.2 [mass noun] Entreaty: a look of appeal on his face
More example sentences
  • She added she had not received the councillors' petition or his appeal for a meeting.
  • These appeals persuade not through the give-and-take of argument and debate, but through the manipulation of symbols and of our most basic human emotions.
  • Trumped-up waiting lists and emotional appeals concerning the poor quality of child care are indications of a far greater goal.
plea, urgent/earnest request, entreaty, cry, cry from the heart, call, petition, prayer, supplication, solicitation, application, overture, suit;
French cri de cœur;
archaic orison
1.3An attempt to persuade someone to do something by calling on a particular principle or quality: an appeal to their common cultural values
More example sentences
  • Either way, bigotry is bigotry, and appeals to base instincts should always be repudiated.
  • I kept strictly away from the threats, focussing instead on the promises and appeals to reason.
  • Even when not winning, a racer can benefit from the challenge to his sailing skills and the appeal to his sense of adventure.
2 Law An application to a higher court for a decision to be reversed: he has 28 days in which to lodge an appeal [mass noun]: the right of appeal
More example sentences
  • Other applicants could lodge an appeal against the decision based on the change in selection criteria.
  • While some bad decisions get reversed on appeal, that process can take years, which is a long time in a child's life.
  • At first instance the claim failed, but the decision was reversed on appeal.
retrial, reconsideration, re-examination
3A request for donations to support a charity or cause: a public appeal to raise £120,000
More example sentences
  • The charity has launched an appeal for public donations.
  • The new mayor says his charity appeal will be to support homeless people.
  • This support means that funds raised by the appeal will go directly to Marie Curie Cancer Care.
4 [mass noun] The quality of being attractive or interesting: the popular appeal of football
More example sentences
  • Although maybe the show's ghastly appeal may attract voyeuristic interest.
  • The variety of musical styles and interesting guests had popular appeal.
  • Food commands so much appeal and interest that most newspapers devote valuable column space for food writings on Sundays.



Pronunciation: /əˈpiːlə/
Example sentences
  • They had no match referees in those days to penalise such appealers!
  • I am almost always suspicious of appeals to the ‘good old days’ as the appeal typically has an agenda behind it, or reveals some reflexive need on the part of the appealer.
  • Any busker, lecturer, musician, singer or street appealer must apply for a permit before performing in public, irrespective of whether money is collected.


Middle English (in legal contexts): from Old French apel (noun), apeler (verb), from Latin appellare 'to address', based on ad- 'to' + pellere 'to drive'.

  • Recorded first in legal contexts, appeal comes via Old French from Latin appellare ‘to address, accost, call upon’. Peal (Late Middle English) is a shortening of appeal, perhaps from the call to prayers of a ringing bell. The base of appeal is Latin pellere ‘to drive’, found also in compel ‘drive together’; dispel ‘drive apart’; expel ‘drive out’; impel ‘drive towards’; and impulsive; propel ‘drive forwards’; repel ‘drive back’, all Late Middle English. It is also the source of the pulse (Middle English) that you can feel on your wrist and is related to push (Middle English). The other kind of pulse, an edible seed, is a different word, which comes via Old French from Latin puls ‘porridge of meal or pulse’, related to the sources of both pollen and powder.

Words that rhyme with appeal

allele, anele, anneal, Bastille, Beale, Castile, chenille, cochineal, cockatiel, conceal, congeal, creel, deal, eel, Emile, feel, freewheel, genteel, Guayaquil, heal, heel, he'll, keel, Kiel, kneel, leal, Lille, Lucille, manchineel, meal, misdeal, Neil, O'Neill, ordeal, peal, peel, reel, schlemiel, seal, seel, she'll, spiel, squeal, steal, steel, Steele, teal, underseal, veal, weal, we'll, wheel, zeal

For editors and proofreaders

Line breaks: ap¦peal

Share this entry

What do you find interesting about this word or phrase?

Comments that don't adhere to our Community Guidelines may be moderated or removed.