plea 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 NOTE: 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.
: 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
Source: Merriam-Webster's Dictionary of Law ©1996. Merriam-Webster, Incorporated. Published under license with Merriam-Webster, Incorporated.