plead / plēd/ • v. (past plead·ed or pled / pled/ ) 1. make an emotional appeal: [intr.] they pleaded with Carol to come home again | [with direct speech] “Don't go,” she pleaded | Anne pleaded to go with her. 2. [tr.] present and argue for (a position), esp. in court or in another public context: using cheap melodrama to plead the case for three prisoners. ∎ [intr.] Law address a court as an advocate on behalf of a party. ∎ [intr.] Law state formally in court whether one is guilty or not guilty of the offense with which one is charged: he pleaded guilty to the drug charge. ∎ Law invoke (a reason or a point of law) as an accusation or defense: on trial for attempted murder, she pleaded self-defense. ∎ offer or present as an excuse for doing or not doing something: he pleaded family commitments as a reason for not attending.DERIVATIVES: plead·er n.plead·ing·ly adv.