- a person who brings suit in a court (opposed to defendant).
- (formerly) a person who brings a civil action in a court of lawNow replaced by: claimant Compare defendant (def. 1)
n.c.1400, from Anglo-French pleintif (late 13c.), noun use of Old French plaintif “complaining; wretched, miserable,” from plainte (see plaint). Identical with plaintive at first; the form that receded into legal usage retained the older -iff spelling. The party that institutes a suit in a court. The person or entity the plaintiff sues is the defendant.