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Related to amendment: Fifth Amendment, Amendment 2
plead the Fifth (Amendment)
1. To refuse to testify against oneself in court, in accordance with the rights guaranteed by the Fifth Amendment to the United States Constitution. The alleged kingpin of the east coast drug cartel simply pled the Fifth after every question the prosecution put to him.
2. By extension, to refuse to answer a question or provide information, especially if doing so may incriminate or embarrass oneself. Just plead the Fifth if your mom asks where you've been all night! A: "So, I hear things got pretty messy at the bar last night." B: "Yeah, I'm going to have to plead the Fifth Amendment on that one!
1. Fig. someone who is in the last period of a term in an elective office and cannot run for reelection. You can't expect much from a lame duck. As a lame duck, there's not a lot I can do.
2. Fig. having to do with someone in the last period of a term in an elective office. (Used as an adjective; sometimes lame-duck.) You don't expect much from a lame-duck president. Lame-duck Congresses tend to do things they wouldn't dare do otherwise.
take the fifth (amendment)also plead the fifth (amendment)
to avoid answering a question, esp. that could cause embarrassment I plead the fifth - I don't know where your girlfriend went!
Etymology: based on the Fifth Amendment of the US Bill of Rights which says you do not have to answer questions about yourself in a court if your answers could show you are involved in a criminal activity
An elected officeholder whose term of office has not yet expired but who has failed to be re-elected and therefore cannot garner much political support for initiatives. For example, You can't expect a lame duck President to get much accomplished; he's only got a month left in office . This expression originated in the 1700s and then meant a stockbroker who did not meet his debts. It was transferred to officeholders in the 1860s. The Lame Duck Amendment, 20th to the U.S. Constitution, calls for Congress and each new President to take office in January instead of March (as before), thereby eliminating the lame-duck session of Congress.
take the Fifth
Refuse to answer on the grounds that one may incriminate oneself, as in He took the Fifth on so many of the prosecutor's questions that we're sure he's guilty. This idiom refers to the Fifth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, which states that no person shall be compelled to be a witness against himself or herself. [Mid-1900s]
1. n. someone who is in the last period of a term in an elective office. You can’t expect much from a lame duck.
2. mod. having to do with someone in the last period of a term in an elective office. You don’t expect much from a lame duck president.
take the fifth
1. and five it tv. to refuse to testify to a U.S. legislative committee under the protection of the Fifth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. The lawyer just sat there and said, “Five it” after every question.
2. tv. to decline to answer any questions. I’ll take the fifth on that one. Ask Fred.