|1.||an earnest entreaty or request: a plea for help|
|2.||a. law something alleged or pleaded by or on behalf of a party to legal proceedings in support of his claim or defence|
|b. criminal law the answer made by an accused to the charge: a plea of guilty|
|c. (in Scotland and formerly in England) a suit or action at law|
|3.||an excuse, justification, or pretext: he gave the plea of a previous engagement|
|[C13: from Anglo-Norman plai, from Old French plaid lawsuit, from Medieval Latin placitum court order (literally: what is pleasing), from Latin placēre to please]|
see cop a plea.