plea /'plē/ n [Anglo-French plei plai legal action, trial, from Old French plait plaid, from Medieval Latin placitum, from Latin, decision, decree, from neuter of placitus, past participle of placēre to please, be decided]
1 a: an allegation of fact in civil litigation made in response to a claim compare demurrer
b: a defendant's answer to a plaintiff's claim in civil litigation
◇ Under the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, and in states where they have been adopted, civil pleas are abolished, and answers and motions are used instead. Such pleas were used at common law.
dil·a·to·ry plea /'di-lə-ˌtōr-ē-/: a common-law plea which is intended to defeat the pending action or proceeding without involving any decision on the merits of the case
plea in abatement: a plea entered by a party seeking postponement or dismissal of an action by setting forth some matter or defect regarding procedure, jurisdiction, or timing – called also plea of abatement;
plea in bar: a plea that alleges the existence of an absolute bar (as a statute of limitations) to an action
plea of abatement: plea in abatement in this entry
2 a: an accused party's answer to a criminal charge or indictment
b: a plea of guilty
3: an earnest entreaty

Merriam-Webster’s Dictionary of Law. . 1996.

I noun allegation, answer, arguments at the bar, assertion, claim, counterstatement, defendant's answer to charges, defense, exceptio, excusatio, legal argument, legal defense, petitio, pleading, pleadings, rebuttal, refutation, reply, response, retort, statement alleged in defense, statement alleged in justification, statement of defense, statement which answers the charges, statements on behalf of the defense associated concepts: entering a plea, plea in abatement, plea in bar, plea in equity, plea of estoppel, plea of guilty, plea of insanity, plea of nolo contendere, plea of not guilty, plea of payment, plea of recoupment, plea of release, plea of self-defense, plea of setoff foreign phrases:
- Ambiguum placitum interpreteri debet contra proferentem. — An ambiguous plea ought to be interpreted against the party entering it
- Exceptio falsi omnium ultima. — A false plea is the worst of all
- Interdum evenit ut exceptio quae prima facie justa videtur, tamen inique noceat. — It sometimes happens that a plea which on its face seems just, nevertheless is injurious and inequitable
II index advocacy, allegation, answer (judicial response), argument (pleading), call (appeal), claim (legal demand), contention (argument), counterargument, entreaty, invitation, nollo contendere, petition, pleading, prayer, pretense (pretext), request, response

Burton's Legal Thesaurus. . 2006

(1) In criminal law, a defendant’s response to the charges brought against him or her.
(2) Formerly, at common law or equity, one of several kinds of pleading that have now been made obsolete under the Rules of Civil Procedure.

The Essential Law Dictionary. — Sphinx Publishing, An imprint of Sourcebooks, Inc. . 2008.

An accused defendant's formal answer to criminal charges. Typically defendants enter one of the following pleas: guilty, not guilty, or nolo contendere. A plea is usually entered when charges are formally brought (at arraignment). (See: nolo contendere)
Category: Criminal Law
Category: Small Claims Court & Lawsuits

Nolo’s Plain-English Law Dictionary. . 2009.

1 An accused person's formal reply to a charge in a criminal court, the choices being guilty, not guilty, nolo contendere (no contest).
2 An answer in an equity case telling why a suit should be barred, delayed, or dismissed.
3 A pleading.
@ affirmative plea
One intent on establishing a fact not in the bill that, if established, negates the merit of the complainant's case.
@ dilatory plea
One that contests the grounds of a plaintiff's case, other than its merits, such as wrong jurisdiction, wrong defendant, or other defects in the procedure.
@ double plea
One having two or more distinct and independent grounds of complaint for the same issue and requiring each one of those grounds to be answered separately.
@ peremptory plea
One directly responding to the particulars of the plaintiff's charges.
=>> plea.
@ plea in abatement
A dilatory plea objecting to the time, method or place of the plaintiff's assertion, but not addressing any of that assertion's underlying merits.
=>> plea.

Webster's New World Law Dictionary. . 2000.

A formal response by the defendant to the affirmative assertions of the plaintiff in a civil case or to the charges of the prosecutor in a criminal case.

Dictionary from West's Encyclopedia of American Law. 2005.

A formal response by the defendant to the affirmative assertions of the plaintiff in a civil case or to the charges of the prosecutor in a criminal case.
II The first pleading by a criminal defendant, the defendant's declaration in open court that he or she is guilty or not guilty. The defendant's answer to the charges made in the indictment or information.

Short Dictionary of (mostly American) Legal Terms and Abbreviations.

   1) in criminal law, the response by an accused defendant to each charge of the commission of a crime. Pleas normally are "not guilty," "guilty," "no contest" (admitting the facts, but unwilling to plead "guilty," thus resulting in the equivalent of a "guilty" verdict but without admitting the crime), or "not guilty by reason of insanity" (at the time of the criminal act). However, the accused may make a "dilatory plea" challenging the jurisdiction of the court or claiming that he/she is the wrong defendant, requiring a special hearing. He/she may admit the acts but have excuses to be considered (a "plea in abatement"), which may affect the judge's sentence. Pleas are entered orally at arraignment (first court appearance) or a continued (postponed) arraignment. If after a preliminary hearing the judge determines the defendant must face trial for a felony, he/she will have to enter a plea again before a judge of the trial court.
   2) any written answer or other response filed by a defendant to a complaint or petition in a civil lawsuit.

Law dictionary. . 2013.

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Look at other dictionaries:

  • plea — [pliː] noun [countable usually singular] LAW a statement by someone in a court of law, saying whether they are guilty of a crime or not: • Your honor, we enter (= make ) a plea of not guilty . * * …   Financial and business terms

  • plea — [pli:] n [Date: 1200 1300; : Old French; Origin: plait, plaid, from Latin placitum decision , from placere; PLEASE2] 1.) a request that is urgent or full of emotion plea for ▪ a plea for help ▪ Caldwell made a plea for donations …   Dictionary of contemporary English

  • Plea — Plea, n. [OE. plee, plai, plait, fr. OF. plait, plaid, plet, LL. placitum judgment, decision, assembly, court, fr. L. placitum that which is pleasing, an opinion, sentiment, from placere to please. See {Please}, and cf. {Placit}, {Plead}.] 1.… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • plea — [ pli ] noun count ** 1. ) an urgent or emotional request for something: plea for: The police ignored her pleas for help. make a plea: The boy s parents have made an emotional plea for him to come home. 2. ) LEGAL a statement that someone makes… …   Usage of the words and phrases in modern English

  • Plea — bezeichnet: eine Wanze namens Plea minutissima, Plea leachi oder Plea atomaria, deutsch Wasserzwerg in angloamerikanisch geprägten Strafprozessen ein Bekenntnis des Angeklagten auf „schuldig“ (guilty plea) oder „nicht schuldig“ (not guilty plea) …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • plea — [plē] n. [ME plai < OFr plaid, suit, plea < L placitum, opinion, order, orig. that which is pleasing, orig. neut. pp. of placere, to PLEASE] 1. a statement in defense or justification; excuse 2. an earnest and urgent request; appeal;… …   English World dictionary

  • plea — (n.) early 13c., lawsuit, from Anglo Fr. plai (late 12c.), O.Fr. plait lawsuit, decision, decree (9c.), from M.L. placitum lawsuit, in classical Latin, opinion, decree, lit. that which pleases, thing which is agreed upon, properly neuter pp. of… …   Etymology dictionary

  • plea — [n1] begging request appeal, application, entreaty, imploration, imprecation, intercession, orison, overture, petition, prayer, round robin*, solicitation, suit, supplication; concept 662 Ant. answer, reply plea [n2] excuse, defense action, alibi …   New thesaurus

  • Plea — Plea, Gattung der Wanzenart Notonectides …   Pierer's Universal-Lexikon

  • plea — 1 *apology, apologia, excuse, pretext, alibi Analogous words: explanation, justification, rationalization (see corresponding verbs at EXPLAIN): defense, vindication (see corresponding verbs at MAINTAIN) 2 *prayer, suit, petition, appeal Analogous …   New Dictionary of Synonyms

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