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Playful; wanton. – Shelton.


Playfulness; wantonness.


A toy; any thing that serves to amuse. A child knows his nurse, and by degrees the playthings of a little more advanced age. – Locke.


A maker of plays. – Pope.

PLEA, n. [Norm. plait, plet, plaid, ple; plur. pliz, pleytz; Fr. plaider, to plead; plaidoyer, a plea; It. piato, a plea; piatire, to plead; Sp. pleyto, dispute; pleytear, to plead; pleyteador, a pleader; Port. pleito, pleitear; D. pleit, pleiten. The Spanish word pleyto signifies a dispute, contest, debate, lawsuit, and a covenant, contract or bargain, and pleyta is a plaited strand of brass. The Portuguese verb pleitear signifies to plead, to go to law, to strive or vie. The elements of this word are probably Ld or Pld. In the sense of pleading, the word accords with the Gr. λιτη, and in that of striving, with the L. lis, litis.]

  1. In law, that which is alledged by a party in support of his demand; but in a more limited and technical sense, the answer of the defendant to the plaintif's declaration and demand. That which the plaintif alledges in his declaration is answered and repelled or justified by the defendant's plea. Pleas are dilatory, or pleas to the action. Dilatory pleas are to the jurisdiction of the court, to the disability of the plaintif, or in abatement. Pleas to the action are an answer to the merits of the complaint, which confesses or denies it. Pleas that deny the plaintif's complaint or demand, are the general issue, which denies the whole declaration; or special pleas in bar, which state something which precludes the plaintif's right of recovery.
  2. A cause in court; a lawsuit, or a criminal process; as, the pleas of the crown; the court of common pleas. The supreme judicial court shall have cognizance of pleas real, personal and mixed. – Laws of Mass.
  3. That which is alledged in defense or justification; an excuse; an apology; as, the tyrant's plea. When such occasions are, / No plea must serve; 'tis cruelty to spare. – Denham.
  4. Urgent prayer or entreaty.

PLEACH, v.t. [Fr. plisser, or from the root of L. plico, Gr. πλεκω.]

To bend; to interweave. [Not in use.] – Shak.

PLEAD, v.i. [See Plea.]

  1. In a general sense, to argue in support of a claim, or in defense against the claim of another.
  2. In law, to present an answer to the declaration of a plaintif; to deny the plaintif's declaration and demand, or to alledge facts which show that he ought not to recover in the suit. The plaintif declares or alledges; the defendant pleads to his declaration. The king or the state prosecutes an offender, and the offender pleads not guilty, or confesses the charge.
  3. To urge reasons for or against; to attempt to persuade one by argument or supplication; as, to plead for the life of a criminal; to plead in his favor; to plead with a judge or with a father. O that one might plead for a man with God, as a man pleadeth for his neighbor! – Job xvi.
  4. To supplicate with earnestness.
  5. To urge; to press by operating on the passions. Since you can love, and yet your error see, / The same resistless power may plead for me. – Dryden.

PLEAD, v.t.

  1. To discuss, defend and attempt to maintain by arguments or reasons offered to the tribunal or person who has the power of determining; as, to plead a cause before a court or jury. In this sense, argue is more generally used by lawyers.
  2. To alledge or adduce in proof, support or vindication. The law of nations may be pleaded in favor of the rights of embassadors.
  3. To offer in excuse. I will neither plead my age nor sickness in excuse of faults. – Dryden.
  4. To alledge and offer in a legal plea or defense, or for repelling a demand in law; as, to plead usury; to plead a statute of limitations. – Ch. Kent.
  5. In Scripture, to plead the cause of the righteous, as God is to avenge or vindicate them against enemies, or to redress their grievances. – Is. li.


That may be pleaded; that may be alledged in proof, defense or vindication; as, a right or privilege pleadable at law. – Dryden.


Offered or urged in defense; alledged in proof or support.

PLEAD'ER, n. [Fr. plaideur.]

  1. One who argues in a court of justice. Swift.
  2. One that forms pleas or pleadings; as, a special pleader.
  3. One that offers reasons for or against; one that attempts to maintain by arguments. So fair a pleader any cause may gain. Dryden.


The act of supporting by arguments, or of reasoning to persuade.


Offering in defense; supporting by arguments or reasons; supplicating.


By supplication.


In law, the mutual altercations between the plaintif and defendant, or written statements of the parties in support of their claims, comprehending the declaration, count or narration of the plaintif, the plea of the defendant in reply, the replication of the plaintif to the defendant's plea, the defendant's rejoinder, the plaintif's sur-rejoinder, the defendant's rebutter, the plaintif's sur-rebutter, &c. till the question is brought to issue, that is, to rest on a single point.

PLEAS'ANCE, n. [plez'ance; Fr. plaisance. See Please.]

Gayety; pleasantry; merriment. [Obs.] – Spenser. Shak.

PLEAS'ANT, a. [plez'ant; Fr. plaisant. See Please.]

  1. Pleasing; agreeable; grateful to the mind or to the senses; as, a pleasant ride; a pleasant voyage; a pleasant view. Light is pleasant to the eye; an orange is pleasant to the taste; harmony is pleasant to the ear; a rose is pleasant to the smell. How good and how pleasant it is for brethren to dwell together in unity! – Ps. cxxxiii.
  2. Cheerful; enlivening; as, pleasant society or company.
  3. Gay; lively; humorous; sportive; as, a pleasant companion.
  4. Trifling; adapted rather to mirth than use. – Locke.
  5. Giving pleasure; gratifying. This word expresses less than delightful, to the mind, and delicious, to the taste.

PLEAS'ANT-LY, adv. [plez'antly.]

  1. In such a manner as to please or gratify.
  2. Gayly; merrily; in good humor. – Clarendon.
  3. Lightly; ludicrously. – Broome.

PLEAS'ANT-NESS, n. [plez'antness.]

  1. State of being pleasant or agreeable; as, the pleasantness of a situation. – Sidney.
  2. Cheerfulness; gayety; merriment; as, the pleasantness of youth.

PLEAS'ANT-RY, n. [plez'antry; Fr. plaisanterie.]

  1. Gayety; merriment. The harshness of reasoning is not a little softened and smoothed by the infusions of mirth and pleasantry. – Addison.
  2. Sprightly saying; lively talk; effusion of humor. The grave abound in pleasantries, the dull in repartees and points of wit. – Addison.


Having pleasing speech.

PLEASE, v.i. [s as z.]

  1. To like; to choose; to prefer. Spirits, freed from mortal laws, with ease / Assume what sexes and what shapes they please. – Pope.
  2. To condescend; to comply; to be pleased; a word of ceremony. Please you, lords, / In sight of both our battles we may meet. – Shak. The first words that I learnt were to express my desire that he would please to give me my liberty. – Swift. Please expresses less gratification than delight.

PLEASE, v.t. [s as z. Fr. plaire, plaisant, from L. placere, placeo; Arm. pligea, pligeout; It. piacere; Sp. placer. Corn. plezia; formed perhaps on the root of like. Class Lg.]

  1. To excite agreeable sensations or emotions in; to gratify; as, to please the taste; to please the mind. Their words pleased Hamor, and Shechem, Hamor's son. – Gen. xxiv. Leave such to trifle with more grace than ease, / Whom folly pleases, and whose follies please. – Pope.
  2. To satisfy; to content. What next I bring shall please / Thy wish exactly to thy heart's desire. – Milton.
  3. To prefer; to have satisfaction in; to like; to choose. Many of our most skillful painters were pleased to recommend this author to me. – Dryden. To be pleased in or with, to approve; to have complacency in. – Matth. iii. To please God, is to love his character and law and perform his will, so as to become the object of his approbation. They that are in the flesh can not please God. – Rom. viii.


Gratified; affected with agreeable sensations or emotions.


An officious person who courts favor servilely; a pickthank. – Shak.