to plead the fifth

Idiom Definition

"to plead the fifth"

to remain silent regarding a particular subject or circumstance in order to not incriminate yourself

Idiom Definition - to plead the fifth


Related words and phrases:

Idiom Scenario 1

Idiom Definition - to plead the fifth

Steve was arrested by the police yesterday. They thought he might have robbed a bank. Steve did not rob a bank but knew better than to say anything that might cause him trouble. When the police began to question Steve, he would only say...

"I plead the fifth."

Wisely, Steve remained silent until he could talk to his lawyer.

Idiom Scenario 2

Idiom Definition - to plead the fifth

Johnny is a 14 year old teenage boy. His mother comes home one day to discover that her favorite lamp in the living room has been smashed. Johnny's mother asks Johnny if he knows anything about the broken lamp in the living room. Johnny replies...

"I plead the fifth."

Did Johnny break the lamp?  We do not know.  In fact, Johnny had been playing in the living room with his friends but did not break the lamp.  Johnny is worried that if he tells his mother this fact that he will be incriminated and his mother will believe that he did break the lamp.

to plead the fifth - Usage:


You can use this idiom whenever the intent is that by saying something, a person will be incriminated whether they are guilty or not.

Usage Frequency Index:   58   click for frequency by country

to plead the fifth - Gerund Form:

Pleading the fifth can sometimes be the best course of action.

to plead the fifth - Examples:

1)  Answer the damn questions or plead the fifth and let it go to trial or not.

2)  I have appeared in disguise. About that hiding from the feds thing, I plead the fifth. Wait, you're in Canada.

3)  Fritsch, while at least speaking to the media, basically plead the fifth, saying he just wanted to move on.

4)  Unless Gary or Wayne want to ask the question, I will plead the fifth amendment.

5)  I don't think you can speak for them. I think I'll just plead the fifth amendment.

6)  Tell her that the answers will not be productive and plead the fifth.

7)  Favourite radio show or presenter. Why? I'll plead the Fifth, so as to maintain professional integrity as Irish Independent radio reviewer!

8)  But you decided to plead the fifth (amendment). You remained quiet and pristine.

9)  I plead the fifth but only because I'm not bloodly well allowed to vote!

10)  This is why a defendant can " plead the fifth ", remain silent, and not offer a shred of evidence.

11)  As soon as Romney runs out of lies during the debates, he will plead the fifth.

12)  She plead the fifth at her first hearings.

13)  Particularly since she was so quiet except to plead the fifth when asked if she had sought the advice of the former Director.

14)  Dowd wants to use this case law as precedent to say that someone can plead the fifth because they might incriminate themselves, before that they testify.

15)  I think the jury would convict me on this. I plead the fifth.

16)  Am I still celibate? I plead the fifth.

17)  I would imagine he will plead the 5th and not comment.

18)  Last time you were caught doing something? # Define caught. Actually I plead the 5th.

19)  If he tries to plead the 5th, that will not impress the jurors to his trial.

20)  The only way he can even come close is to plead the 5th amendment on every question.