The Collaborative International Dictionary of English v.0.48:
Plea \Plea\, n. [OE. plee, plai, plait, fr. OF. plait, plaid,
plet, LL. placitum judgment, decision, assembly, court, fr.
L. placitum that which is pleasing, an opinion, sentiment,
from placere to please. See Please, and cf. Placit,
1. (Law) That which is alleged by a party in support of his
cause; in a stricter sense, an allegation of fact in a
cause, as distinguished from a demurrer; in a still more
limited sense, and in modern practice, the defendant's
answer to the plaintiff's declaration and demand. That
which the plaintiff alleges in his declaration is answered
and repelled or justified by the defendant's plea. In
chancery practice, a plea is a special answer showing or
relying upon one or more things as a cause why the suit
should be either dismissed, delayed, or barred. In
criminal practice, the plea is the defendant's formal
answer to the indictment or information presented against
2. (Law) A cause in court; a lawsuit; as, the Court of Common
Pleas. See under Common.
The Supreme Judicial Court shall have cognizance of
pleas real, personal, and mixed. --Laws of
3. That which is alleged or pleaded, in defense or in
justification; an excuse; an apology. "Necessity, the
tyrant's plea." --Milton.
No plea must serve; 't is cruelty to spare.
4. An urgent prayer or entreaty.
Pleas of the crown (Eng. Law), criminal actions.
The Collaborative International Dictionary of English v.0.48:
Crown \Crown\ (kroun), n. [OE. corone, coroun, crune, croun, OF.
corone, corune, F. couronne, fr. L. corona crown, wreath;
akin to Gr. korw`nh anything curved, crown; cf. also L.
curvus curved, E. curve, curb, Gael. cruinn round, W. crwn.
Cf. Cornice, Corona, Coroner, Coronet.]
1. A wreath or garland, or any ornamental fillet encircling
the head, especially as a reward of victory or mark of
honorable distinction; hence, anything given on account
of, or obtained by, faithful or successful effort; a
reward. "An olive branch and laurel crown." --Shak.
They do it to obtain a corruptible crown; but we an
incorruptible. --1 Cor. ix.
Be thou faithful unto death, and I will give thee a
crown of life. --Rev. ii. 10.
2. A royal headdress or cap of sovereignty, worn by emperors,
kings, princes, etc.
Note: Nobles wear coronets; the triple crown of the pope is
usually called a tiara. The crown of England is a
circle of gold with crosses, fleurs-de-lis, and
imperial arches, inclosing a crimson velvet cap, and
ornamented with thousands of diamonds and precious
3. The person entitled to wear a regal or imperial crown; the
sovereign; -- with the definite article.
Parliament may be dissolved by the demise of the
Large arrears of pay were due to the civil and
military servants of the crown. --Macaulay.
4. Imperial or regal power or dominion; sovereignty.
There is a power behind the crown greater than the
crown itself. --Junius.
5. Anything which imparts beauty, splendor, honor, dignity,
The hoary head is a crown of glory, if it be found
in the way of righteousness. --Prov. xvi.
A virtuous woman is a crown to her husband. --Prov.
6. Highest state; acme; consummation; perfection.
Mutual love, the crown of all our bliss. --Milton.
7. The topmost part of anything; the summit.
The steepy crown of the bare mountains. --Dryden.
8. The topmost part of the head (see Illust. of Bird.);
that part of the head from which the hair descends toward
the sides and back; also, the head or brain.
From toe to crown he'll fill our skin with pinches.
Twenty things which I set down:
This done, I twenty more-had in my crown. --Bunyan.
9. The part of a hat above the brim.
10. (Anat.) The part of a tooth which projects above the gum;
also, the top or grinding surface of a tooth.
11. (Arch.) The vertex or top of an arch; -- applied
generally to about one third of the curve, but in a
pointed arch to the apex only.
12. (Bot.) Same as Corona.
(a) That part of an anchor where the arms are joined to
(b) The rounding, or rounded part, of the deck from a
(c) pl. The bights formed by the several turns of a
14. The upper range of facets in a rose diamond.
15. The dome of a furnace.
16. (Geom.) The area inclosed between two concentric
17. (Eccl.) A round spot shaved clean on the top of the head,
as a mark of the clerical state; the tonsure.
18. A size of writing paper. See under Paper.
19. A coin stamped with the image of a crown; hence,a
denomination of money; as, the English crown, a silver
coin of the value of five shillings sterling, or a little
more than $1.20; the Danish or Norwegian crown, a money
of account, etc., worth nearly twenty-seven cents.
20. An ornaments or decoration representing a crown; as, the
paper is stamped with a crown.
Crown of aberration (Astron.), a spurious circle around the
true circle of the sun.
Crown antler (Zool.), the topmost branch or tine of an
antler; also, an antler having a cuplike top, with tines
springing from the rim.
Crown bar, one of the bars which support the crown sheet of
Crown glass. See under Glass.
Crown imperial. (Bot.) See in the Vocabulary.
Crown jewels, the jewels appertaining to the sovereign
while wearing the crown. [Eng.] "She pawned and set to
sale the crown jewels." --Milton.
Crown land, land belonging to the crown, that is, to the
Crown law, the law which governs criminal prosecutions.
Crown lawyer, one employed by the crown, as in criminal
Crown octavo. See under Paper.
Crown office. See in the Vocabulary.
Crown paper. See under Paper.
Crown piece. See in the Vocabulary.
Crown Prince, the heir apparent to a crown or throne.
Crown saw. See in the Vocabulary.
Crown scab (Far.), a cancerous sore formed round the
corners of a horse's hoof.
Crown sheet, the flat plate which forms the top of the
furnace or fire box of an internally fired steam boiler.
Crown shell. (Zool.) See Acorn-shell.
Crown side. See Crown office.
Crown tax (Eccl. Hist.), a golden crown, or its value,
which was required annually from the Jews by the king of
Syria, in the time of the Maccabees. --1 Macc. x. 20.
Crown wheel. See in the Vocabulary.
Crown work. See in the Vocabulary.
Pleas of the crown (Engl. law), criminal actions.
Bouvier's Law Dictionary, Revised 6th Ed (1856):
PLEAS OF THE CROWN, Eng. law. This phrase is now employed to signify
criminal causes in which the king is a party. Formerly it signified royal
causes for offences of a greater magnitude than mere misdemeanors. These
were left to be tried in the courts of the barons, whereas the greater
offences, or royal causes, were to be tried in the king's courts, under the
appellation of pleas of the crown. Robertson's Hist. of Charles V., vol. 1,