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[plee-ding] /ˈpli dɪŋ/
the act of a person who pleads.
  1. the advocating of a cause in a court of law.
  2. the art or science of setting forth or drawing pleas in legal causes.
  3. a formal statement, usually written, setting forth the cause of action or defense of a case.
  4. pleadings, the successive statements delivered alternately by plaintiff and defendant until the issue is joined.
Origin of pleading
1250-1300; Middle English pledynge (gerund). See plead, -ing1
Related forms
pleadingly, adverb
pleadingness, noun
nonpleading, adjective
nonpleadingly, adverb
unpleading, adjective


[pleed] /plid/
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.
  1. to make any allegation or plea in an action at law.
  2. to put forward an answer on the part of a defendant to a legal declaration or charge.
  3. to address a court as an advocate.
  4. 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.
  1. to maintain (a cause) by argument before a court.
  2. to allege or set forth (something) formally in an action at law.
  3. 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
Related forms
replead, verb, repleaded, repleading.
unpleaded, adjective
1. beg, supplicate. 2. reason. 5. claim. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the Web for pleading
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • But let us die in grace's hall-floor, pleading before Christ.

    Letters of Samuel Rutherford Samuel Rutherford
  • My letters of pleading, like my calls and telephone efforts, were still ignored.

    City of Endless Night Milo Hastings
  • It is under such an understanding with him that I am pleading his case in his stead.

    The Climbers Clyde Fitch
  • And all that time Leonora was defending her rival, and pleading her cause!

  • Auntie”—eyes and voice were pleading—“auntie, the—the things—this paper says—they never happened, did they?

British Dictionary definitions for pleading


noun (law)
the act of presenting a case in court, as by a lawyer on behalf of his client
the art or science of preparing the formal written statements of the parties to a legal action See also pleadings


verb pleads, pleading, pleaded, plead (plɛd), especially (US & Scot) pled (plɛd)
when intr, often foll by with. to appeal earnestly or humbly (to)
(transitive; 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
(intransitive) often foll by for. to provide an argument or appeal (for): her beauty pleads for her
(law) to declare oneself to be (guilty or not guilty) in answer to the charge
(law) to advocate (a case) in a court of law
(intransitive) (law)
  1. to file pleadings
  2. to address a court as an advocate
Derived Forms
pleadable, adjective
pleader, noun
Word Origin
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 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for pleading

late 13c., "the carrying on of a suit at court," verbal noun from plead (v.). Meaning "supplication, intercession" is from early 15c.



mid-13c., "make a plea in court," from Anglo-French pleder, Old French plaidier, "plead at court" (11c.), from Medieval Latin placitare, from Late Latin placitum (see plea). Sense of "request, beg" first recorded late 14c. Related: Pleaded; pleading; pleadingly.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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