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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!"
See also: fifth, plead

plead for someone

to beg for someone to be spared. Tom pleaded for Dave, but it was no use. Dave was found guilty. She pleaded for her husband, but the judge sentenced him to ten years in prison.
See also: plead

plead for something

to beg for something. I don't want to have to plead for what's already mine. The children were pleading for ice cream, so we got some for them.
See also: plead

plead guilty to something

to state that one is guilty of a crime before a court of law. Gerald refused to plead guilty to the crime and had to stand trial. Max pleaded guilty to the charge and then fled town.
See also: guilty, plead

plead to something

to enter an admission of guilt to a specific crime. Max pleaded to the lesser charge of larceny. Lefty pleaded to the grand larceny charge.
See also: plead

plead with someone

to beg something of someone; to make an emotional appeal to someone. Do I have to plead with you to get you to do it? You can plead with me as much as you want. I won't permit you to go.
See also: plead

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
See also: fifth, take

I take/plead the Fifth (Amendment)

  (American humorous)
something that you say in order to tell someone you are not going to answer a question
Usage notes: The Fifth Amendment is the part of American law that says someone does not have to answer questions about themselves in a law court.
(sometimes + on ) 'So who do you like best, Jenny or Kim?' 'Sorry, I take the Fifth on that.'
See a fifth wheel
See also: fifth, take

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]
See also: fifth, take

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.
See also: fifth, take
References in periodicals archive ?
Pleaded guilty to breaching a restraining order on November 5.
Samuel Rego, 19, of Ullswater Avenue, Roath, Cardiff, pleaded guilty to possession of cannabis and was given a 12-month conditional discharge, ordered to pay PS85 to the CPS and a PS15 victim surcharge.
Carly Marie Cardwell, 25, of Holmsdale Road, Foleshill, pleaded guilty to being in possession of a Class A drug.
A 16-year-old boy from Quinton pleaded guilty to trespassing Sainsbury's and stealing two bottles of fizzy drinks worth pounds 2.
Gilabert, who pleaded guilty last year to a conspiracy charge, is scheduled to be sentenced on July 23.
Pleaded guilty to possessing amphetamine with intent to supply
The MTA's former Director of Facility Operations, Howard Weissman, its former Facilities Manager, Ronald Allan, and former MTA building manager, Gary Weissbard pleaded guilty to participating in the corrupt activities of contractors doing business with the MTA, including plumbing contractor Figliolia Plumbing Co.
pleaded guilty to all counts of a 71 count indictment before the Honorable Robert E.
Pleaded guilty to stealing sun cream, worth PS70, from Boots on May 11.
Morgan Jeffrey Deere, 24, of Main Road, Church Village, Pontypridd, pleaded guilty to the possession of cocaine.
The following cases were heard at Coventry Magistrates Court on October 31: Nigel Arnold, 35, of The Boxhill, Stoke Aldermoor, pleaded guilty to the theft of eight cans of lager and a bottle of vodka worth pounds 21.
Kirwan pleaded guilty at Warwick Crown Court on Thursday to falsely claiming tax credits for childcare costs from 2006 to 2008.
MOORPARK -- The owners of an escaped tiger that roamed eastern Ventura County for nearly a month until it was shot near an elementary school pleaded guilty Monday to obstructing justice under a deal with federal prosecutors.
Newcastle and Tynedale Mazuer Shan, 37, of Brighton Grove, Fenham: Pleaded guilty to damaging a car on October 29.