WordReference Random House Learner's Dictionary of American English © 2017
plea /pli/USA pronunciation   n.[countable]pl.  pleas. 
  1. an appeal or request:a plea for mercy.
  2. an excuse;
    pretext:He begged off on the plea that his car wasn't working.
  3. Law
    • a defendant's answer to a legal charge:a plea of not guilty.
    • Lawa plea of guilty.
See -plac-.
WordReference Random House Unabridged Dictionary of American English © 2017
plea  (plē),USA pronunciation n. 
  1. an appeal or entreaty:a plea for mercy.
  2. something that is alleged, urged, or pleaded in defense or justification.
  3. an excuse;
    pretext:He begged off on the plea that his car wasn't working.
  4. Law
    • an allegation made by, or on behalf of, a party to a legal suit, in support of his or her claim or defense.
    • a defendant's answer to a legal declaration or charge.
    • Law(in courts of equity) a plea that admits the truth of the declaration, but alleges special or new matter in avoidance.
    • [Obs.]a suit or action.
  5. Slang Termscop a plea, See  cop 1 (def. 4b).
  • early Medieval Latin placitum law-court, suit, decision, decree, Latin: opinion (literally, that which is pleasing or agreeable), noun, nominal use of neuter of past participle of placēre to please
  • Old French
  • Middle English ple, earlier plaid 1175–1225
    • 1.See corresponding entry in Unabridged request, petition, supplication, solicitation, suit.
    • 3.See corresponding entry in Unabridged justification.

Collins Concise English Dictionary © HarperCollins Publishers::

plea /pliː/ n
  1. an earnest entreaty or request
  2. something alleged or pleaded by or on behalf of a party to legal proceedings in support of his claim or defence
  3. the answer made by an accused to the charge: a plea of guilty
  4. (in Scotland and formerly in England) a suit or action at law
  5. an excuse, justification, or pretext: he gave the plea of a previous engagement
Etymology: 13th Century: from Anglo-Norman plai, from Old French plaid lawsuit, from Medieval Latin placitum court order (literally: what is pleasing), from Latin placēre to please

'plea' also found in these entries:

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