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[Middle French plaintif, from plaintif, adj., grieving, from plaint lamentation, from Latin planctus, from plangere to strike, beat one's breast, lament]
: the party who institutes a legal action or claim (as a counterclaim) see also complainant, complaint, libellant compare defendant, prosecution
Source: Merriam-Webster's Dictionary of Law ©1996. Merriam-Webster, Incorporated. Published under license with Merriam-Webster, Incorporated.