verb (used without object), pleaded or pled, pleading.
to appeal or entreat earnestly: to plead for time.
to use arguments or persuasions, as with a person, for or against something: She pleaded with him not to take the job.
to afford an argument or appeal: His youth pleads for him.
to make any allegation or plea in an action at law.
to put forward an answer on the part of a defendant to a legal declaration or charge.
to address a court as an advocate.
Obsolete. to prosecute a suit or action at law.
verb (used with object), pleaded or pled, pleading.
to allege or urge in defense, justification, or excuse: to plead ignorance.
to maintain (a cause) by argument before a court.
to allege or set forth (something) formally in an action at law.
to allege or cite in legal defense: to plead a statute of limitations.

1200–50; Middle English plaiden < Old French plaid(i)er to go to law, plead < early Medieval Latin placitāre to litigate, derivative of Latin placitum opinion. See plea

replead, verb, repleaded, repleading.
unpleaded, adjective

1. beg, supplicate. 2. reason. 5. claim. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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World English Dictionary
plead (pliːd)
vb (when intr, often foll by with) (often foll by for) , esp (US), (Scot) pleads, pleading, pleaded, plead, pled
1.  to appeal earnestly or humbly (to)
2.  (tr; may take a clause as object) to give as an excuse; offer in justification or extenuation: to plead ignorance; he pleaded that he was insane
3.  to provide an argument or appeal (for): her beauty pleads for her
4.  law to declare oneself to be (guilty or not guilty) in answer to the charge
5.  law to advocate (a case) in a court of law
6.  (intr) law
 a.  to file pleadings
 b.  to address a court as an advocate
[C13: from Old French plaidier, from Medieval Latin placitāre to have a lawsuit, from Latin placēre to please; see plea]

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

mid-13c., "make a plea in court," from Anglo-Fr. pleder, O.Fr. pleider, plaidier, "agreement, discussion, lawsuit," from M.L. placitare, from L.L. placitum (see plea). Sense of "request, beg" first recorded late 14c.
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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Example sentences
It is true that defense counsel usually end up advising clients to plead guilty.
If editors and publishers plead poverty in this era of declining circulation,
If the police stopped him, he'd plead poverty and tiny mouths to feed, and send
  them home with an armload of fruit.
The tribunal has yet to determine whether foreign lawyers may even appear to
  plead before it.
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