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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!"
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
I take/plead the Fifth (Amendment)(American humorous)
something that you say in order to tell someone you are not going to answer a questionSee a fifth wheel
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.'
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]
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.