Definition of plaintiff in English:



  • A person who brings a case against another in a court of law.

    ‘the plaintiff commenced an action for damages’
    Compare with defendant
    • ‘The plaintiffs sued the defendant alleging that he had been negligent in a number of ways.’
    • ‘Three defendants were each found liable to the plaintiff in a personal injuries case.’
    • ‘Several years later the plaintiff gave the defendant notice to quit under the lease agreement.’
    • ‘The defendants negligently told the plaintiffs that X was much wealthier than in fact he was.’
    • ‘The plaintiffs engaged the defendants as their solicitors to act for them.’
    litigator, opponent in law, opponent, contestant, contender, disputant, claimant, complainant, petitioner, appellant, respondent, party, interest, defendant, accused
    View synonyms


In England and Wales the term plaintiff was officially replaced by claimant in 1999


Late Middle English: from Old French plaintif ‘plaintive’ (used as a noun). The -f ending has come down through Law French; the word was originally the same as plaintive.