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Related to pleading: special pleading
plead (one's) case
1. To state one's argument regarding a case or charge in a court of law. The only way to get the charges dropped is to have a good lawyer plead your case—not one of your stupid friend's cousins.
2. By extension, to state one's defense, explanation, or excuse about something. A: "All right, plead your case. Why shouldn't you be grounded for missing curfew last night?" B: "Mom, I wasn't doing anything bad. I was dropping Jen off, and her house is kind of far away." I tried pleading your case, but Ms. Harper was having none of it. Your book report is still due tomorrow.
plead down to (something)
1. To formally admit and declare that one is guilty of a lesser criminal charge. The defendant pleaded down to a manslaughter charge to avoid the death penalty. He pleaded down to a single charge of perjury in exchange for cooperating with the FBI's investigation of the drug cartel.
2. To receive a lower punishment or prison sentence by formally admitting to a lesser criminal charge. She pled down to 18 months in prison. You might be able to plead down to 10 years, but if you go to trial, you're looking at life in prison.
3. To negotiate a deal with prosecutors or a judge in which a guilty plea is formally made for a lesser criminal charge on someone else's behalf. In this usage, a noun or pronoun is used between "plead" and "down." The defense attorney managed to plead him down to a misdemeanor. He pleaded his client down to a reckless endangerment charge.
4. To negotiate a deal with prosecutors or a judge on someone else's behalf so that they a lower punishment or prison sentence is formally admitting to a lesser criminal charge. In this usage, a noun or pronoun is used between "plead" and "down." I've built a good rapport with the judge overseeing your case, and I think we might be able to plead you down to community service. My attorney pled me down to 15 years in a minimum security prison, which sure as hell beats the prospect of life behind bars.
1. To beg someone or appeal in earnest to someone's good nature for something to happen or be granted. The prisoner threw himself at the king's feet, pleading for his life. Daniel pleaded for a bit more time to finish the project, but the boss went ahead and fired him for the delay.
2. To beg someone or appeal in earnest to someone's good nature for someone to be spared some fate or treatment. The mother pleaded for her son, but the king had him executed on the spot. She pleaded for her brother when their mother threatened to whip him with the belt.
plead guilty (to something)
To formally admit and declare that one is guilty (of some crime or accusation). The defendant avoided a possible death sentence by pleading guilty to a lesser charge of manslaughter. My client pleads guilty, your honor.
plead not guilty (to something)
To formally deny that one is guilty (of some crime or accusation). The defendant pleaded not guilty, and he will go to trial where he will face the possibility of life in prison, or even death. My client pleads not guilty, your honor.
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 to (something)
To formally admit and declare that one is guilty of a particular crime. The defendant pleaded to manslaughter to avoid a murder conviction.
plead with (one)
To beg one or appeal in earnest to one's good nature (for something or to do something). I pleaded with him to reconsider, but he said his mind was made up. Don't go pleading with your mother for more ice cream—you've already had enough!
See also: plead
Farlex Dictionary of Idioms. © 2022 Farlex, Inc, all rights reserved.
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.
McGraw-Hill Dictionary of American Idioms and Phrasal Verbs. © 2002 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.