Difference Between Plaintiff and Defendant (With Table)

There exist several terms that have different meanings in various areas. These terms help us to understand more about the specified notion. These terms have a certain definition, and it helps us to get a clear idea about a certain field or designation. In a lawsuit, to be specific, several terms are used to carry out several processes. 

These terms give us information about various processes that take place in a court of law. It also entails several procedures and the people that are involved in these procedures. However, the two primary terms that are used are 1. Plaintiff and 2. Defendant.

Plaintiff vs Defendant

The difference between Plaintiff and Defendant is their meaning. The meaning of the term “Plaintiff” is the person or a party who files a case against another person or a party in the court of law enforcement. On the other hand, the meaning of the term “Defendant” is the person or a party against whom the case is filed in the court of law enforcement.

The person or a party who files a case against another person or party in the court of law enforcement is known as the plaintiff. The plaintiff initiates a case against a person or the party, and after that, further procedures are carried out. The term has been in use in several English-speaking jurisdictions.

The person or a party that is accused or against whom the case is filed in the court of law enforcement is known as “Defendant”. The diction of the term differs from one jurisdiction to another. The defendant is the one who is impeached of a crime or wrongdoing in the court proceedings.

Comparison Table Between Plaintiff and Defendant

Parameters of ComparisonPlaintiffDefendant
Meaning/ DefinitionThe person or a party who files a case against another person or party in the court of law enforcement is known as the plaintiff.The person or a party that is accused or against whom the case is filed in the court of law enforcement is known as “Defendant”.
ProcedureThe plaintiff files a case against the defendant in the court of law enforcement.The defendant is accused of a crime, and a case is filed against the defendant in the court of law enforcement.
First Use14th centuryIn the 14th century, as a noun as well as an adjective.
SynonymsComplainant, prosecutor, suer, accuser, suitor, pleader, petitioner.Litigant, offender, suspect, prisoner, accused, arrestee, detainee, lawbreaker, criminal, perpetrator, wrongdoer, misdoer.
AntonymsDefendant, accused, arrestee, detainee, criminal, perpetrator, lawbreaker, felon, convict.Gangbuster, lawman, plaintiff, accuser, suitor, pleader, prosecutor.

What is Plaintiff?

The person or a party who files a case against another person or party in the court of law enforcement is known as the plaintiff. The plaintiff initiates a case against a person or the party, and after that, further procedures are carried out. Depending on the jurisdictions, the term has several meanings, definitions, and usage.

However, the roots of the word “plaintiff” can be found in the year 1278. It was derived from an Anglo-French word called “plaintiff”. However, the meaning of that word is “complaining”. In some jurisdictions like England and Wales, the term “claimant” was majorly used, though it had multiple other meanings and definitions as well.

The term “Plaintiff” has been in use in several English-speaking jurisdictions. However, in England and Wales, the term is known as “claimant”, which also has multiple meanings and definitions. Another well-known synonym for the term “plaintiff” is “complainant”. It also has several antonyms and synonyms as well.

Several synonyms and near-synonyms of the term “Plaintiff” include complainant, prosecutor, suer, accuser, suitor, pleader, petitioner, pleader, indicter, confronter, claimer, challenger, applicant, litigator, beseecher, pursuer, solicitor etc. Several antonyms of the term “Plaintiff” include defendant, accused, arrestee, detainee, criminal, perpetrator, lawbreaker, felon, convict etc.

What is Defendant?

The person or a party that is accused or against whom the case is filed in the court of law enforcement is known as “Defendant”. The defendant is the one who is impeached of a crime or wrongdoing in the court proceedings. The diction of the term differs from one jurisdiction to another.

The defendants are brought under police custody, and only after that they are put in front of the court of law under an arrest warrant. The prosecutor is either public or private. Some jurisdictions allow private prosecutors. On the other hand, there exist some jurisdictions that do not allow private prosecutors.

In various parts of the world, the term has different meanings, definitions, and usage, as well as a matter of fact. In Scots law, during the criminal proceedings, the terms like “accused” and “panel” are majorly used. However, during the civil proceedings, terms like “defender” and “respondent” are majorly used.

Several synonyms to the term “Defendant” include litigant, offender, suspect, prisoner, accused, arrestee, detainee, lawbreaker, criminal, perpetrator, wrongdoer, misdoer etc. Several antonyms used for the term “Defendant” include gangbuster, lawman, plaintiff, accuser, suitor, pleader, prosecutor, complainant, suer, petitioner etc.

Main Differences Between Plaintiff and Defendant

  1. The terms “Plaintiff” and “Defendant” are both opposites of each other and have exactly the opposite meanings, definitions, and usage as well in day to day life.
  2. The meaning of the term “Plaintiff” is the person or a party who files a case against another person or a party in the court of law enforcement. On the other hand, the meaning of the term “Defendant” is the person or a party against whom the case is filed in the court of law enforcement.
  3. The procedures are different in the court of law enforcement for both plaintiff and defendant. The plaintiff files a case against the defendant in the court of law enforcement, on the other hand, the defendant is accused of a crime, and a case is filed against the defendant in the court of law enforcement.
  4. The synonyms for the term “plaintiff” include prosecutor, suer, accuser, suitors etc., on the other hand, the synonyms for the term “defendant” include accused, arrestee, detainee, criminal, perpetrator etc.
  5. The antonyms for the term “plaintiff” include accused, defendant, arrestee, detainee, criminal, perpetrator, lawbreakers etc., on the other hand, the antonyms for the term “defendant” include lawman, plaintiff, accuser, suitor, pleader.

Conclusion

Both terms are widely used in the court of law enforcement and other procedures as well. People use these terms for better understanding and to convey an appropriate explanation during various times.

Terminologies of various words provide a compact amount of study material that proves to be useful in many ways. It helps people in conveying their message in a precise manner without causing any confusion. It also enriches a written material as it is an important part of the vocabulary.

References

  1. https://www.journals.uchicago.edu/doi/abs/10.1086/467986
  2. https://psycnet.apa.org/record/1988-07436-001
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