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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/plead the ˈfifth

(American English) make use of the right to refuse to answer questions in court about a crime, because you may give information which will make it seem that you are guiltyFrom the Fifth Amendment of the US Constitution, which guarantees this right.
See also: fifth, plead, take
References in periodicals archive ?
daily doe encroach contracts, covenants, trespasses, debts and detinues, and many other actions pleadable at common law, in great prejudice of the king and of his courts, and to the great grievance and oppression of his people.
30) The committee later reported a power "to grant reprieves and pardons," and added pardons "shall not [be] pleadable to an impeachment" Roger Sherman of Connecticut suggested limiting the granting of reprieves "until the ensuing session of the Senate" and allowing pardons "with the consent of the Senate.
28) A range of pleadable offenses and sentences may exist, but stigma and incarceration usually will result from any type of plea.
191) Similarly, increasingly compelling equitable arguments concerning a defendant's personal situation may be relevant to sentencing,(192) but do not necessarily mean that a prosecutor should revise the pleadable offense along a sliding scale; society's interest in maximum deterrence might trump the defendant's interests no matter how sad the defendant's tale.