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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 ?
By contrast, in the formative period of the common law in the thirteenth century, pleading was oral and "tentative"; judges participated in the pleading process, advising the pleaders about the likely consequences of particular pleas.
See Clermont, supra note 5, at 1365 ("[I]n the years before Twombly-Iqbal many pleaders were including tremendous detail, and many observers attributed this practice to the encouragement, if not requirement, of the lower courts.
Abraham Tucker relates of a friend of his, an old special pleader, that once coming out of his chambers in the Temple with him to take a walk, he hesitated at the bottom of the stairs which way to go--proposed different directions, to Charing-Cross, to St.
to state a claim because a pleader cannot show the Subsidiary engaged in
According to the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, all that was previously required to begin a lawsuit was "a short and plain statement of the claim showing that the pleader is entitled to relief.
McGhee - dubbed the drunken pleader - admitted driving in Kilmarnock on July 23 while almost three times the drink limit.
The Court noted that Federal Rule 8(a) (2) "requires only 'a short and plain statement of the claim showing that the pleader is entitled to relief.
Every defense, in law or fact, to a claim for relief in any pleading, whether a claim, counterclaim, cross-claim, or third-party claim, shall be asserted in the responsive pleading thereto if one is required, except that the following defenses may at the option of the pleader be made by motion .
His decision to cover his wife's funeral expenses was immediately rewarded since the clergyman conducting the funeral service introduced him to his "eminent brother who had been an excellent pleader preparing students to the bar" (Edgeworth 1893: 398).
The pleader, moreover, had to shoehorn the facts of his case into one of the limited forms of action, such as trespass, covenant, and assumpsit.
Morgan is represented by a pleader (barrister), Moses Agabeg, an Armenian.
Few women have been courted, through all kinds of developments, as she was by the same compulsive pleader.