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Longman Dictionary of Contemporary English
The Collaborative International Dictionary

Plead \Plead\, v. t. [imp. & p. p. Pleaded (colloq. Pleador Pled); p. pr. & vb. n. Pleading.] [OE. pleden, plaiden, OF. plaidier, F. plaider, fr. LL. placitare, fr. placitum. See Plea.]

  1. To argue in support of a claim, or in defense against the claim of another; to urge reasons for or against a thing; to attempt to persuade one by argument or supplication; to speak by way of persuasion; as, to plead for the life of a criminal; to plead with a judge or with a father.

    O that one might plead for a man with God, as a man pleadeth for his neighbor!
    --Job xvi. 21.

  2. (Law) To present an answer, by allegation of fact, to the declaration of a plaintiff; to deny the plaintiff's declaration and demand, or to allege facts which show that ought not to recover in the suit; in a less strict sense, to make an allegation of fact in a cause; to carry on the allegations of the respective parties in a cause; to carry on a suit or plea.
    --Blackstone. Burrill. Stephen.

  3. To contend; to struggle. [Obs.]


Pleading \Plead"ing\, n. The act of advocating, defending, or supporting, a cause by arguments.

Douglas Harper's Etymology Dictionary

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

  1. That pleads. n. 1 The act of making a plea. 2 (context legal English) A document filed in a lawsuit, particularly a document initiating litigation or responding to the initiation of litigation. v

  2. (present participle of plead English)


adj. expressing earnest entreaty; "the appealing and frightened look worn by an injured dog"; "she holds out her hand for money, importunate, insistent"; "a pleading note in her voice" [syn: appealing, imploring, importunate]


n. (law) a statement in legal and logical form stating something on behalf of a party to a legal proceeding


In law as practiced in countries that follow the English models, a pleading is a formal written statement of a party's claims or defenses to another party's claims in a civil action. The parties' pleadings in a case define the issues to be adjudicated in the action.

The Civil Procedure Rules (CPR) govern pleading in England and Wales. Federal Rules of Civil Procedure govern pleading in United States federal courts. Each state in the United States has its own statutes and rules that govern pleading in the courts of that state.

Pleading (Elgar)

"Pleading" is a poem written by Arthur L. Salmon, and set to music by the English composer Edward Elgar in 1908, as his Op.48.

This is one of the most popular of Elgar's songs. Elgar had returned home at the end of September 1908, feeling depressed after taking the score of his first Symphony to the publishers. Arthur Salmon had sent him a book of poems, and the loneliness expressed in "Pleading" fitted his mood. He finished the song within a week, and added the orchestration the next month. He wrote the song for, and dedicated it to his great friend Lady Maud Warrender.

It was published by Novello & Co. It has been referred to as Elgar's Op. 48, No. 1, as if a set of songs had been planned for Lady Maud Warrender, but no other Op. 48 songs are known.

Pleading (England and Wales)

Pleading in England and Wales is covered by the Civil Procedure Rules (CPR). These rules set a high priority on attempts to resolve all matters able to be resolved by the parties, prior to hearing (or trial).

The pleadings are contained in various Statements of Case - usually the Claim and any associated Particulars of Claim, the Defence, and an optional reply to the Defence. The Claim, Particulars of Claim, and Defence, are broadly equivalent to the Summons, Complaint and Answer filed in some other jurisdictions). The pleadings set out succinctly the claims made by each side, and their legal basis, and provide a basis to explore the issues in the case. They must specify the basic facts which are alleged, but need not evidence those facts or any extensive legal argument (these are addressed at later stages of the process). Some types of allegation must be expressly stated in the appropriate statement of case, if they will be alleged or relied upon at a later stage.

Pleading (United States)

Pleading in United States Federal courts is governed by the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure.

According to Rule 7, only these pleadings are allowed:

  1. A complaint;
  2. An answer to a complaint;
  3. An answer to a counterclaim designated as a counterclaim;
  4. An answer to a crossclaim;
  5. A third-party complaint;
  6. An answer to a third-party complaint; and
  7. If the court orders one, a reply to an answer.

Any other document that requests a court order is referred to as a motion.

Usage examples of "pleading".

Pender then went on to describe life aboard the ship for all of the hands, pleading with the admiral to intercede and put an end to this tyranny.

Pleading for mercy, calling on whatever god might hear them, they crawled through the darkness, sobbing, bedeviled on every side.

The Anatomy of Melancholy always made him hungry, and he dipped discreetly into various vessels of refreshment, sharing a few scraps with Bock whose pleading brown eye at these secret suppers always showed a comical realization of their shameful and furtive nature.

He brushed his mouth against hers, demanding nothing, apologizing yet again for the way he had bungled their first time together, pleading for a second chance.

Previous to the time of Socrates, orators in addressing popular assemblies, lawyers in pleading cases, and all public speakers, appear to have made use of the cithara as a sort of accompaniment, if for no other purpose than to assure themselves of securing a proper pitch of the voice.

She stared up at me brightly, and I caught a brief vision of Sara in full regalia pleading a case before a bemused Judge Cloke and twelve goggle-eyed jurors.

Christopher, was arrested for selling marijuana to grammar-school students in suburban Washington, his father spent three nights, after daylong meetings of his committee on the Moon, pleading with police and district attorneys not to send his boy to a house of correction, and on the afternoon of the fourth day, during a heated debate on whether the surface of the Moon might be composed of deep dust into which a landing vehicle might sink never to be seen again, he leaned forward onto the table, collapsed, and slipped sideways to the floor.

The accused man was weakening, pleading with Durand to listen, promising that he would tell the whole truth.

They stood against the seductions of patronage in the hands of the President whom they had elected, and against the eloquent pleadings of the Secretary of State who for ten years before the war had been their sagacious guide, their profound philosopher, their trusted friend.

But one empassioned look from the insidious Laurentina, one word from her, uttered in the tremulous accents of genuine affection, were sufficient to silence the eloquent pleadings of reason, and to stifle the impulses of virtue and compassion.

However, by defending on the merits, after pleading and relying upon a foreign judgment, a party does not waive the benefits of an alleged estoppel arising from the foreign judgment.

Hottenbaum turned pleading eyes toward the faunal life-form group head.

Her slouch combines with nervous arm-flapping to transform her, as she walks, into a huge flightless bird, its terrified eyes silently pleading, just this once, to be allowed to fly.

The pleadings would have wearied me if I had been a blind man, but as it was I amused myself by a scrutiny of the various physiognomies before me.

Three of them had been following her around for weeks before they finally caught up with her there along with one for Leish pleading with him to bend all efforts make certain that she got them.