Petition vs. Plea: What's the Difference?
A petition is a formal written request submitted to an authority, often signed by many people, asking for a specific action or change. A plea is a request made in an urgent or emotional manner, often in a legal context, for some form of relief or favor.
A petition and a plea, while both forms of requests, vary in their format, context, and often in the emotional tone attached to them. A petition is typically a formal, written request presented to an authority, often supported by signatures or endorsements from multiple people. A plea, on the other hand, is more personal and may be emotional or urgent, commonly seen in legal contexts where one party requests something specific from the court or another authority.
In terms of grammatical roles, both "petition" and "plea" primarily function as nouns but can also be used as verbs. For example, you might "petition the court" or "enter a plea." However, the verb form of "petition" is more commonly used than the verb form of "plea," which often appears in its noun form, especially when used in a legal setting like "entering a plea of not guilty."
The contexts where the words are most frequently used also set them apart. A petition is generally associated with civil or social activism, politics, or governance. It often aims for collective action or policy change. A plea is more often linked to legal or judicial proceedings and may also appear in personal, urgent appeals for help or mercy.
To summarize, a petition is usually a formal, collective, and written request for a specific change, often submitted to a governing body. A plea is generally an emotional or urgent appeal made by an individual, commonly in a legal context, for some form of relief or favor.
Verbal or written, often emotional
Governance, civil activism
Legal, personal appeals
Often multiple supporters
Noun, can be a verb
Noun, less often a verb
Often urgent or emotional
Petition and Plea Definitions
A formal written request to an authority.
The petition for cleaner parks gathered 1,000 signatures.
A formal statement in a legal case.
The attorney submitted a plea for bail.
An appeal or entreaty.
She filed a petition for clemency.
A request made in desperation.
Her plea for mercy moved the crowd.
A legal document.
The tenant's petition was denied by the court.
An excuse or pretext.
His plea was that he was too busy.
An online request for social or policy change.
The online petition against deforestation went viral.
An earnest request; an appeal
Spoke out in a plea for greater tolerance.
A solemn supplication or request, especially to a superior authority; an entreaty.
An excuse; a pretext
"[The] colonel ... hid first behind a stump and then worked his way to the rear on the plea of a sore back" (William Marvel).
A formal written document requesting a right or benefit from a person or group in authority.
The defendant's answer to a formal criminal charge
Entered a plea of not guilty.
A formal written application seeking a court's intervention and action on a matter
A petition for review of a previous court's decision.
A defendant's answer in a civil action.
A pleading initiating a legal case in some civil courts
A bankruptcy petition.
A special answer in an equity action, setting forth in lieu of a detailed response a basis for dismissing, delaying, or barring the suit.
Something requested or entreated
Granted our petition.
A legal proceeding.
To address a petition to
Petitioned the king for a pardon.
An appeal, petition, urgent prayer or entreaty.
A plea for mercy
Make a plea
To ask for by petition; request formally
Petitioned that the sentence be reduced.
An excuse; an apology.
To make a request, especially formally
Petitioned for retrial.
That which is alleged or pleaded, in defense or in justification.
A formal, written request made to an official person or organized body, often containing many signatures.
(legal) That which is alleged by a party in support of his cause.
A compilation of signatures built in order to exert moral authority in support of a specific cause.
We're looking to get 10,000 people to sign the petition to have the bird colony given legal protection.
(legal) An allegation of fact in a cause, as distinguished from a demurrer.
(legal) A formal written request for judicial action.
(legal) The defendant’s answer to the plaintiff’s declaration and demand.
A prayer; a supplication; an entreaty.
(legal) A cause in court; a lawsuit; as, the Court of Common Pleas.
(transitive) To make a request to, commonly in written form.
The villagers petitioned the council to demolish the dangerous building.
To plead; to argue.
A prayer; a supplication; an imploration; an entreaty; especially, a request of a solemn or formal kind; a prayer to the Supreme Being, or to a person of superior power, rank, or authority; also, a single clause in such a prayer.
A house of prayer and petition for thy people.
This last petition heard of all her prayer.
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 him.
A formal written request addressed to an official person, or to an organized body, having power to grant it; specifically (Law), a supplication to government, in either of its branches, for the granting of a particular grace or right; - in distinction from a memorial, which calls certain facts to mind; also, the written document.
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.
To make a prayer or request to; to ask from; to solicit; to entreat; especially, to make a formal written supplication, or application to, as to any branch of the government; as, to petition the court; to petition the governor.
You have . . . petitioned all the gods for my prosperity.
That which is alleged or pleaded, in defense or in justification; an excuse; an apology.
No plea must serve; 't is cruelty to spare.
To make a petition or solicitation.
An urgent prayer or entreaty.
A formal message requesting something that is submitted to an authority
A humble request for help from someone in authority
Reverent petition to a deity
(law) a defendant's answer by a factual matter (as distinguished from a demurrer)
Write a petition for something to somebody; request formally and in writing
An answer indicating why a suit should be dismissed
An application for a specific purpose.
He submitted a petition for a building permit.
An urgent request or appeal.
His plea for help was ignored.
A defendant's answer to a legal charge.
She entered a plea of not guilty.
Can a Plea be written?
Yes, a plea can be either verbal or written.
How do Petition and Plea differ?
A petition is formal and often collective, while a plea is usually urgent and individual.
Is a Petition always written?
Petitions are usually written but can sometimes be presented digitally.
Can Plea be a verb?
Plea is less commonly used as a verb; the verb form is "to plead."
Can Petition be a verb?
Yes, "to petition" means to make a formal request.
What is a Petition?
A petition is a formal written request submitted to an authority for a specific change.
What is a Plea?
A plea is an urgent or emotional request, often made in a legal context.
Are Pleas emotional?
Pleas often carry an emotional or urgent undertone.
Do both Petition and Plea ask for a change?
Yes, both aim to request a change or action.
Can Petitions be online?
Yes, online petitions are becoming increasingly common.
What is the common context for a Petition?
Petitions often appear in governance, social activism, or politics.
Where are Pleas commonly used?
Pleas are most commonly used in legal or judicial settings.
Is a Petition signed by multiple people?
Usually, petitions gather multiple signatures for support.
Is a Plea made by a single person?
A plea is generally an individual's request or appeal.
Can both Petition and Plea be used in legal contexts?
Yes, but a petition in legal settings is more formal, while a plea is often part of court proceedings.
Written bySawaira Riaz
Sawaira is a dedicated content editor at difference.wiki, where she meticulously refines articles to ensure clarity and accuracy. With a keen eye for detail, she upholds the site's commitment to delivering insightful and precise content.
Edited bySumera Saeed
Sumera is an experienced content writer and editor with a niche in comparative analysis. At Diffeence Wiki, she crafts clear and unbiased comparisons to guide readers in making informed decisions. With a dedication to thorough research and quality, Sumera's work stands out in the digital realm. Off the clock, she enjoys reading and exploring diverse cultures.