Origin of English word PLEA

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English Word


Edenic Word


Hebrew Word







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A PLEA (appeal, entreaty) is from Old French plai (a suit or plea). The search for older etymons brings in Latin placitus (an opinion) and Latin placere (to please, be agreeable) This last term is traced to Indo-European “root” plak (to be flat).

    פלל PeeLaiL is to entreaty (Psalms106:30). It is defined as "to intercede" as well as "to think, judge."   התפלל HiTPaLaiL is to pray, to make PLEAS or to APPEAL to the Lord.

Ernest David Klein is not sure how  פלל PaLeL came to mean prayer. He cites         פלילה   PiLeeYLaH (office of a judge -- Isaiah 16:13),   פלילי PiLeeYLeeY (calling for judgement – Job 31:28),   פליליה  and PLeeYL’YaH  (judging – Isaiah 28:7).  Yet EDK cites Old Assyrian palalum (to sit in judgement) and Arabic falla, he cut himself in worship,  in shrugging “uncertain origin” for פלל   PaLaL and prayer. Like too many secular Hebraicists, Klein is Jewishly illiterate. Jewish prayer is largely APPEALING to the Heavenly judge.

EDK correctly cites scholars who see this judgement verb about clefting, splitting and deciding.  A judge decides between claimants or verdicts. The sub-root פ-ל  Pay-Lamed means distinct.   פלה PaLaH, to be separated, is like Ethiopic falaya, he separated, distinguished. This is why נפלה NiPHLaH means disntinct, wonderful and why   פלא PaLAh means to be extraordinary, wonderful, (Job 10:16) and to make special (Numbers 6:2). Follow the פ-ל   Phey-Lamed sub-root of division/separation at ARCHIPELAGO, FLAKE, FLIGHT, and PLOUGH.

 More Pey + liquid differentiation at the פ-ר Family – see PART.


פ-ל Pey-Lamed judgement is doubled in פלפל PalPaiL (to discuss, argue, debate). EDK does not connect פלפול PilPOOL (debate) to the similar word for pepper. Jews are also nervy enough to debate and make extra APPEALS when praying to God.

BAILIFF (magistrate), PLEAD and PRAYER (see below) might all be related. (PRAY requires an L → R liquid shift.  A PLK is offered below.  A third bilabial-liquid-guttural related to PRAYER, and Latin precare, is  ברכה  BRaKHaH, blessing, suggested by Avraham Van Riper.)

 Since lawyers think up PLOYS (origin unknown) to intercede for clients, PLOY is a possible cognate of PLEA. APPEAL and APPELATE, initially from Latin appellare (to entreat), belong here rather with the given Indo-European root pel (to thrust, strike, drive). פלאי PeLEeY (marvelous, miraculous – Judges 13:18) could be the source of FAIRY (magical), again requiring only a standard liquid shift.

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