How do you use i. Click To See The Answer! To plead the fifth means to refuse to answer a question, especially in a criminal trial, on the grounds that you might incriminate yourself. The fifth in plead the fifth comes from the Fifth Amendment to the United States Constitution, which, among other rights, protects citizens from self-incrimination. Pleading the fifth is an action that can be taken in court. The Fifth Amendment gives a criminal defendant the right not to testify, and a witness at a criminal trial can plead the fifth while testifying in response to questions they fear might implicate them in illegal activity. Pleading the fifth is sometimes regarded as proof of guilt, and therefore as an incriminating step. Use of plead the fifth often refers to its legal sense, but in regular conversation, it can be a metaphor, often lighthearted, for a refusal to answer, commit to, or take action on something, as doing so might reveal guilt or be harmful to your self-interest.
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To save this word, you'll need to log in. Constitution, which says that citizens of the U. Accessed 16 Aug. Please tell us where you read or heard it including the quote, if possible. Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way. Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free! Or can it only be art? And how did it get that name? How to Remember the Spelling of 'Definitely' A definitive answer. Literally How to use a word that literally drives some people nuts.
Where does plead the fifth come from?
Subscriber Account active since. Whether you've heard the term tossed around colloquially or you watch a lot of court shows, you've probably come across the phrase "plead the Fifth. As you can probably gather from context clues, when someone "pleads the Fifth," the person is excusing him or herself from answering a question, typically when it could incriminate themselves. The term comes from the Fifth Amendment to the Constitution , which outlines some of the rights a person has when facing criminal charges. The amendment reads:. The clause being referenced here is "nor shall be compelled in any criminal case to be a witness against himself," or what's known as the privilege against self-incrimination. In some cases, a court may force a person to testify in a case, sending them what's called a subpoena. What this clause of the Fifth Amendment does is prevent the prosecution from mandating the defendant come to the stand and testify against themselves and then being held in contempt of court if they refuse. So, if you hear a person — whether in a legal setting or a casual one — "plead the Fifth," they're invoking their right to avoid giving information that could incriminate them.
It was ratified in along with nine other articles of Bill of Rights. The Fifth Amendment applies to every level of the government, including the federal, state, and local levels, in regard to a US citizen or resident of the US. One provision of the Fifth Amendment requires that felonies be tried only upon indictment by a grand jury.