noun Law.
a person who brings suit in a court (opposed to defendant ).

1350–1400; Middle English plaintif complaining person, noun use of the adj.: plaintive

plaintiffship, noun

plaintiff, plaintive. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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World English Dictionary
plaintiff (ˈpleɪntɪf)
Compare defendant Now replaced by: claimant (formerly) a person who brings a civil action in a court of law
[C14: from legal French plaintif, from Old French plaintif (adj) complaining, from plainteplaint]

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition
2009 © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009
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Word Origin & History

c.1400, from Anglo-Fr. pleintif (1278), noun use of O.Fr. plaintif "complaining," from pleint (see plaint). Identical with plaintive at first; the form that receded into legal usage retained the older -iff spelling.
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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American Heritage
Cultural Dictionary

plaintiff definition

The party that institutes a suit in a court. The person or entity the plaintiff sues is the defendant.

The American Heritage® New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition
Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Company.
Published by Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved.
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Example sentences
For the plaintiff this has been a painful episode.
The plaintiff failed to make his case.
Nevada law only requires one plaintiff be identified at the time of filing a
  class action lawsuit, he said.
The plaintiff was not satisfied, so he cried fraud.
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