Simple Definition of cabal
: a small group of people who work together secretly
Examples of cabal in a sentence
a cabal plotting to overthrow the government
<a conspiracy theory about the existence of an international cabal devoted to world domination>
Did You Know?
In A Child's History of England, Charles Dickens associates the word cabal with a group of five ministers in the government of England's King Charles II. The initial letters of the names or titles of those men (Clifford, Arlington, Buckingham, Ashley, and Lauderdale) spelled "cabal," and Dickens dubbed them the "Cabal Ministry." These five men were widely regarded as invidious, secretive plotters and their activities may have encouraged English speakers to associate "cabal" with high-level government intrigue. But their names are not the source of the word cabal, which was in use decades before Charles II ascended the throne. The term can be traced back through French to cabbala, the Medieval Latin name for the Kabbalah, a traditional system of esoteric Jewish mysticism.
Origin of cabal
French cabale cabala, intrigue, cabal, from Medieval Latin cabbala cabala, from Late Hebrew qabbālāh, literally, received (lore)
First Known Use: 1614
Synonym Discussion of cabal
Definition of cabal
: to unite in or form a cabal
First Known Use of cabal
Seen and Heard
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