Etymology 1Edit

From Middle English apel, appel (formal accusation brought in court; a challenge to trial by combat; an appeal to a higher court or authority; plea (for mercy, protection, etc.); pealing (of bells)) [and other forms],[1] from Old French apel (a call) (modern French appel (a call; an appeal)), from apeler (to call; to call out),[2] from Latin appellāre, adpellāre, respectively the present active infinitives of appellō (to address as, call by name; to drive, move to; to land or put ashore) and adpellō (to drive, move to; to land or put ashore), from ad- (prefix meaning ‘to; towards’) (ultimately from Proto-Indo-European *h₂éd (at; to)) + pellō (to drive, impel, push; to hurl, propel; to banish, expel; to eject, thrust out) (ultimately from Proto-Indo-European *pelh₂- (to approach), from *pel- (to beat; to drive; to push)). Doublet of appel.


appeal (countable and uncountable, plural appeals)

  1. (law)
    1. An application to a superior court or judge for a decision or order by an inferior court or judge to be reviewed and overturned.
    2. The legal document or form by which such an application is made; also, the court case in which the application is argued.
    3. A person's legal right to apply to court for such a review.
      I have an appeal against the lower court decision.
    4. (historical) An accusation or charge against someone for wrongdoing (especially treason).
      • 1793, John Comyns; Stewart Kyd, “Appeal”, in A Digest of the Laws of England. [], volume I, 4th edition, Dublin: Luke White, OCLC 938688268, page 515:
        Anciently an appeal lay for high treaſon. [] But it ſeems to be taken away by the ſt[atute] 1 H[enry] 4. 14. And now, if murder be made treaſon, an appeal does not lie.
    5. (historical) A process which formerly might be instituted by one private person against another for some heinous crime demanding punishment for the particular injury suffered, rather than for the offence against the public; an accusation.
    6. (historical) At common law, an accusation made against a felon by one of their accomplices (called an approver).
  2. A call to a person or an authority for a decision, help, or proof; an entreaty, an invocation.
    He made an appeal for volunteers to help at the festival.
    • 1631, Francis [Bacon], “VIII. Century. [Experiments in Consort, Touching the Impressions, which the Passions of the Minde Make vpon the Body.]”, in Sylua Syluarum: Or A Naturall Historie. In Ten Centuries. [], 3rd edition, London: [] VVilliam Rawley; [p]rinted by J[ohn] H[aviland] for William Lee [], paragraph 720, page 180, OCLC 1044372886:
      As for the Caſting vp of the Eyes, and Lifting vp of the Hands, it is a kinde of Appeale to the Deity; Which is the Author, by Power, and Prouidence, of Strange Wonders.
    • 1687, [John Dryden], “The Second Part”, in The Hind and the Panther. A Poem, in Three Parts, 2nd edition, London: Printed for Jacob Tonson [], OCLC 460679539, page 58:
      All in their Turns accuſers, and accus'd: / Babel was never half ſo much confus'd. / What one can plead, the reſt can plead as well; / For amongſt equals lies no laſt appeal, / And all confeſs themſelves are fallible.
    • 1808, Walter Scott, “The Hind and the Panther, a Poem. In Three Parts. [commentary]”, in John Dryden, The Works of John Dryden, [], volume X, London: [] [F]or William Miller, [], by James Ballantyne and Co. [], OCLC 1194156887, page 99:
      [W]hile they received the doctrine of the Trinity as an infinite mystery, far above their reason, they contended against that of transubstantiation as capable of being tried by human faculties, and as contradicted by an appeal to them.
    • 1859, Alfred Tennyson, “Vivien”, in Idylls of the King, London: Edward Moxon & Co., [], OCLC 911789798, page 105:
      [W]hen she lifted up / A face of sad appeal, and spake and said, / 'O Merlin, do you love me?' and again, / 'O Merlin, do you love me?' and once more, / 'Great Master, do you love me?' he was mute.
    1. (cricket) The act, by the fielding side, of asking an umpire for a decision on whether a batsman is out or not.
  3. (figuratively) A resort to some physical means; a recourse.
  4. (figuratively) A power to attract or interest.
  5. (rhetoric) A call to, or the use of, a principle or quality for purposes of persuasion.
  6. (historical) A summons to defend one's honour in a duel, or one's innocence in a trial by combat; a challenge.
    • 1690, [John] Dryden, Don Sebastian, King of Portugal: [], London: [] Jo. Hindmarsh, [], OCLC 1154883115, Act IV, scene i, page 106:
      Nor ſhall the Sacred Character of the King / Be urg'd, to ſhield me from thy bold appeal.
Alternative formsEdit
Derived termsEdit
Related termsEdit
The translations below need to be checked and inserted above into the appropriate translation tables. See instructions at Wiktionary:Entry layout § Translations.
See alsoEdit

Etymology 2Edit

From Middle English apelen, appelen (to accuse; to make a formal charge before a court, etc., impeach; to challenge to trial by combat; to apply to a higher court or authority for review of a decision; to call upon for a decision, favour, help, etc.; to call by a name) [and other forms],[3] from Old French apeler (to call; to call out);[4] see further at etymology 1.


appeal (third-person singular simple present appeals, present participle appealing, simple past and past participle appealed)

  1. (law)
    1. (intransitive) Often followed by against (the inferior court's decision) or to (the superior court): to apply to a superior court or judge for a decision or order by an inferior court or judge to be reviewed and overturned.
      Dissatisfied with the judge’s ruling, she decided to appeal.
      He was advised by his lawyer to appeal against his conviction.
    2. (transitive, originally US) To apply to a superior court or judge to review and overturn (a decision or order by an inferior court or judge).
      The plaintiff appealed the decision to the appellate court.
      • 2016 December 28, Calla Wahlquist, “Supreme court upholds ruling that children are being held at adult prison unlawfully”, in Katharine Viner, editor, The Guardian[1], London: Guardian News & Media, ISSN 0261-3077, OCLC 229952407, archived from the original on 26 January 2021:
        The supreme court of Victoria has upheld a decision the transfer of juvenile detainees to an adult maximum security prison, where some of them spent Christmas Day, was unlawful. The [Daniel] Andrews government had appealed the original decision, which was handed down last week.
    3. (transitive, historical) To accuse or charge (someone) with wrongdoing (especially treason).
      • [1470–1485 (date produced), Thomas Malory, “Capitulum Tercium”, in [Le Morte Darthur], book XVIII (in Middle English), [London: [] by William Caxton], published 31 July 1485, OCLC 71490786, leaf 365, recto; republished as H[einrich] Oskar Sommer, editor, Le Morte Darthur [], London: David Nutt, [], 1889, OCLC 890162034, lines 12–17, page 729:
        This ſhalle not ſo be ended ſaid ſyr Mador de la porte / for here haue I loſte a ful noble knyght of my blood / And therfore vpon this ſhame & deſpyte I wille be reuenged to the vtteraunce / and there openly ſir Mador appeled the quene of the dethe of his coſyn ſir patryſe /
        This shall not so be ended, said Sir Mador de la Porte, for here have I lost a full noble knight of my blood. And therefore upon this shame and despite I will be revenged to the utterance. And there openly Sir Mador appealed the queen of the death of his cousin Sir Patryse.]
      • 1595 December 9 (first known performance), [William Shakespeare], The Tragedie of King Richard the Second. [] (First Quarto), London: [] Valentine Simmes for Androw Wise, [], published 1597, OCLC 213833262, [Act I, scene i]:
        We thanke you both, yet one but flatters vs, / As well appeareth by the cauſe you come, / Namely to appeale each other of high treaſon: []
      • 1596, Edmund Spenser, The Faerie Qveene. [], part II (books IV–VI), London: [] [Richard Field] for VVilliam Ponsonby, OCLC 932900760, book V, canto IX, stanza 39, page 307:
        He gan that Ladie ſtrongly to appele / Of many haynous crymes by her enured, / And with ſharpe reaſons rang her ſuch a pele, / That thoſe, whom ſhe to pitie had allured, / He now t'abhorre and loath her perſon had procured.
    4. (transitive, historical) Of a private person: to instituted legal proceedings (against another private person) for some heinous crime, demanding punishment for the particular injury suffered.
    5. (transitive, historical) Of the accomplice of a felon: to make an accusation at common law against (the felon).
  2. (intransitive) To call upon a person or an authority to corroborate a statement, to decide a controverted question, or to vindicate one's rights; to entreat, to invoke.
    1. (intransitive, cricket) Of a fielding side; to ask an umpire for a decision on whether a batsman is out or not, usually by saying "How's that?" or "Howzat?".
  3. (intransitive) To call upon someone for a favour, help, etc.
    I appeal to all of you to help the orphans.
  4. (intransitive, figuratively) To have recourse or resort to some physical means.
  5. (intransitive, figuratively) To be attractive.
    That idea appeals to me.
  6. (transitive, historical) To summon (someone) to defend their honour in a duel, or their innocence in a trial by combat; to challenge.
Derived termsEdit


  1. ^ ap(p)ēl, n.”, in MED Online, Ann Arbor, Mich.: University of Michigan, 2007.
  2. ^ appeal, n.”, in OED Online  , Oxford, Oxfordshire: Oxford University Press, 1885; “appeal, n.”, in Lexico, Dictionary.com; Oxford University Press, 2019–2022.
  3. ^ ap(p)ēlen, v.”, in MED Online, Ann Arbor, Mich.: University of Michigan, 2007.
  4. ^ Compare “appeal, v.”, in OED Online  , Oxford, Oxfordshire: Oxford University Press, 1885; “appeal, v.”, in Lexico, Dictionary.com; Oxford University Press, 2019–2022.

Further readingEdit



Borrowed from English appeal.




  1. appeal (power to attract or interest)
  2. sex appeal


  1. ^ appeal in Luciano Canepari, Dizionario di Pronuncia Italiana (DiPI)