a an allegation of fact in civil litigation made in response to a claim — compare demurrer

   b a defendant’s answer to a plaintiff’s claim in civil litigation

NOTE: Under the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, and in states where they have been adopted, civil pleas are abolished,  and answers and motions are used instead. Such pleas were used at common law.
 dilatory plea \ˈdi-lə-ˌtōr-ē-\

a common-law plea which is intended to defeat the pending action or proceeding without involving any decision on the merits of the case
 plea in abatement

a plea entered by a party seeking postponement or dismissal of an action by setting forth some matter or defect regarding procedure, jurisdiction, or timing called also plea of abatement
 plea in bar

a plea that alleges the existence of an absolute bar (as a statute of limitations) to an action
 plea of abatement

plea in abatement in this entry
2  a an accused party’s answer to a criminal charge or indictment
    b a plea of guilty
3an earnest entreaty