conspiracy

noun
con·​spir·​a·​cy | \ kən-ˈspir-ə-sē \
plural conspiracies

Definition of conspiracy

1 : the act of conspiring together They were accused of conspiracy to commit murder.
2a : an agreement among conspirators uncovered a conspiracy against the government
b : a group of conspirators a conspiracy made up of disgruntled aristocrats

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Synonyms for conspiracy

Synonyms

cabal, crew, gang, Mafia, mob, ring, syndicate

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Choose the Right Synonym for conspiracy

plot, intrigue, machination, conspiracy, cabal mean a plan secretly devised to accomplish an evil or treacherous end. plot implies careful foresight in planning a complex scheme. an assassination plot intrigue suggests secret underhanded maneuvering in an atmosphere of duplicity. backstairs intrigue machination implies a contriving of annoyances, injuries, or evils by indirect means. the machinations of a party boss conspiracy implies a secret agreement among several people usually involving treason or great treachery. a conspiracy to fix prices cabal typically applies to political intrigue involving persons of some eminence. a cabal among powerful senators

Examples of conspiracy in a Sentence

The CIA uncovered a conspiracy against the government. They were accused of conspiracy to commit murder.

Recent Examples on the Web

Court records show a plea hearing is scheduled Tuesday for 36-year-old Gal Vallerius on drug conspiracy and money laundering charges. Curt Anderson, Sun-Sentinel.com, "'OxyMonster' in US beard contest pleading guilty in drug case," 12 June 2018 Both Viner and Gaskill are currently awaiting trial on charges of wire fraud and obstruction of justice, while Viner will face an additional charge of conspiracy to make false or hoax reports to the police. Jon Porter, The Verge, "California man pleads guilty to fatal swatting and FCC bomb threat," 14 Nov. 2018 Davis plead guilty to one count of conspiracy to distribute narcotics, which carries a maximum sentence of 20 years. Cyrus Farivar, Ars Technica, "Silk Road admin could face up to 20 years after pleading guilty to drug charge," 5 Oct. 2018 Ingabire, who was convicted of conspiracy to undermine the government and of denying the country's 1994 genocide, denies having committed any crime. Ignatius Ssuuna, Fox News, "Rwanda's president to newly freed prisoners: Be careful," 19 Sep. 2018 Jeremy Reichberg, one of the Brooklyn businessman, and former NYPD deputy inspector James Grant face conspiracy charges in what prosecutors described as a corruption scheme that stretched from top NYPD officials to City Hall. Zolan Kanno-youngs, WSJ, "Jury Begins Deliberations in NYPD Corruption Trial," 26 Dec. 2018 The former Bloomington, Indiana, resident pleaded guilty in 2003 to child pornography and international conspiracy charges. Amy Beth Hanson, The Seattle Times, "First-ever child porn suspect on FBI list pleads guilty," 16 Oct. 2018 The remaining conspiracy charge carries a penalty of up to life in prison. Fox News, "2nd trial in case that shined light on missing Native women," 16 Sep. 2018 Manafort faces 18 counts of bank fraud, tax evasion, and conspiracy charges. Jennie Neufeld, Vox, "Vox Sentences: Manafort’s livin’ lavish; he’s got expensive fabrics," 2 Aug. 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'conspiracy.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of conspiracy

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for conspiracy

Middle English conspiracie, from Latin conspirare — see conspire

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Last Updated

16 Feb 2019

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Time Traveler for conspiracy

The first known use of conspiracy was in the 14th century

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More Definitions for conspiracy

conspiracy

noun

English Language Learners Definition of conspiracy

: a secret plan made by two or more people to do something that is harmful or illegal
: the act of secretly planning to do something that is harmful or illegal

conspiracy

noun
con·​spir·​a·​cy | \ kən-ˈspir-ə-sē \
plural conspiracies

Kids Definition of conspiracy

1 : a secret agreement to do something harmful or unlawful
2 : the act of plotting with others to do something harmful or unlawful
3 : a group of conspirators

conspiracy

noun
con·​spir·​a·​cy | \ kən-ˈspir-ə-sē \
plural conspiracies

Legal Definition of conspiracy

1 : an agreement between two or more people to commit an act prohibited by law or to commit a lawful act by means prohibited by law also : the crime or tort of participating in a conspiracy — compare substantive crime

Note: Some states require an overt act in addition to the agreement to constitute conspiracy.

chain conspiracy
: a conspiracy in which the conspirators act separately and successively (as in distributing narcotics)
civil conspiracy
: a conspiracy that is not prosecuted as a crime but that forms the grounds for a lawsuit
criminal conspiracy
: a conspiracy prosecuted as a crime
2 : a group of conspirators

History and Etymology for conspiracy

Latin conspiratio, from conspirare to conspire — see conspire

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