1. an earnest request for aid, support, sympathy, mercy, etc.; entreaty; petition; plea.
  2. a request or reference to some person or authority for a decision, corroboration, judgment, etc.
  3. Law.
    1. an application or proceeding for review by a higher tribunal.
    2. (in a legislative body or assembly) a formal question as to the correctness of a ruling by a presiding officer.
    3. Obsolete.a formal charge or accusation.
  4. the power or ability to attract, interest, amuse, or stimulate the mind or emotions: The game has lost its appeal.
  5. Obsolete. a summons or challenge.

verb (used without object)

  1. to ask for aid, support, mercy, sympathy, or the like; make an earnest entreaty: The college appealed to its alumni for funds.
  2. Law. to apply for review of a case or particular issue to a higher tribunal.
  3. to have need of or ask for proof, a decision, corroboration, etc.
  4. to be especially attractive, pleasing, interesting, or enjoyable: The red hat appeals to me.

verb (used with object)

  1. Law.
    1. to apply for review of (a case) to a higher tribunal.
    2. charge with a crime before a tribunal.
  1. appeal to the country, British. country(def 16).


  1. a request for relief, aid, etc
  2. the power to attract, please, stimulate, or interesta dress with appeal
  3. an application or resort to another person or authority, esp a higher one, as for a decision or confirmation of a decision
  4. law
    1. the judicial review by a superior court of the decision of a lower tribunal
    2. a request for such review
    3. the right to such review
  5. cricket a verbal request to the umpire from one or more members of the fielding side to declare a batsman out
  6. English law (formerly) a formal charge or accusationappeal of felony


  1. (intr) to make an earnest request for relief, support, etc
  2. (intr) to attract, please, stimulate, or interest
  3. law to apply to a superior court to review (a case or particular issue decided by a lower tribunal)
  4. (intr) to resort (to), as for a decision or confirmation of a decision
  5. (intr) cricket to ask the umpire to declare a batsman out
  6. (intr) to challenge the umpire’s or referee’s decision

early 14c., originally in legal sense of “to call” to a higher judge or court, from Anglo-French apeler “to call upon, accuse,” Old French apeler “make an appeal” (11c., Modern French appeler), from Latin appellare “to accost, address, appeal to, summon, name,” iterative of appellere “to prepare,” from ad- “to” (see ad-) + pellere “to beat, drive” (see pulse (n.1)). Related: Appealed; appealing.

Probably a Roman metaphoric extension of a nautical term for “driving a ship toward a particular landing.” Popular modern meaning “to be attractive or pleasing” is quite recent, attested from 1907 (appealing in this sense is from 1891), from the notion of “to address oneself in expectation of a sympathetic response.”


c.1300, in the legal sense, from Old French apel (Modern French appel), back-formation from apeler (see appeal (v.)). Meaning “call to an authority” is from 1620s; that of “attractive power” attested by 1916.

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