A plea is what you make when you're begging for something with a sense of urgency and emotion. While you wouldn't call asking for a hall pass a plea, you could make a plea for justice or world peace.

Plea also has a legal meaning. When you get a traffic ticket or if you're accused of a crime, you have to enter a plea of "guilty" or "not guilty." A "plea bargain" is when you make a deal with the prosecutor — you may plead guilty to a charge (by entering a guilty plea) that has less of a penalty and, in return, the prosecutor drops the more serious charge.

Definitions of plea
  1. noun
    a humble request for help from someone in authority
    synonyms: supplication
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    type of:
    appeal, entreaty, prayer
    earnest or urgent request
  2. noun
    an answer indicating why a suit should be dismissed
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    type of:
    due process, due process of law
    (law) the administration of justice according to established rules and principles; based on the principle that a person cannot be deprived of life or liberty or property without appropriate legal procedures and safeguards
  3. noun
    (law) a defendant's answer by a factual matter (as distinguished from a demurrer)
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    a plaintiff's reply to a defendant's plea
    dilatory plea
    a plea that delays the action without settling the cause of action; it can challenge the jurisdiction or claim disability of the defendant etc. (such defenses are usually raised in the defendant's answer)
    insanity plea, plea of insanity
    (criminal law) a plea in which the defendant claims innocence due to mental incompetence at the time
    type of:
    the principal pleading by the defendant in response to plaintiff's complaint; in criminal law it consists of the defendant's plea of `guilty' or `not guilty' (or nolo contendere); in civil law it must contain denials of all allegations in the plaintiff's complaint that the defendant hopes to controvert and it can contain affirmative defenses or counterclaims
DISCLAIMER: These example sentences appear in various news sources and books to reflect the usage of the word ‘plea'. Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of or its editors. Send us feedback
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