col·​lude kə-ˈlüd How to pronounce collude (audio)
colluded; colluding; colludes

intransitive verb

: to work together secretly especially in order to do something illegal or dishonest : conspire, plot
It was arithmetically possible, too, for a handful of senators … to collude with the president to approve a treaty betraying some vital interest to a foreign power.Jack N. Rakove
… the travails of the world's two biggest art-auction businesses, … rivals that now stand accused by the U.S. Justice Department of colluding to rig the auction market by fixing their sales-commission rates.Robert Hughes
… argues that while the kids are not entitled to collective representation, major universities are permitted to collude to prevent players from being paid for their work.David Sirota

Did you know?

Collude Has Latin Roots

The Latin prefix col-, meaning "together," and the verb ludere, "to play," come together to form collude. The related noun collusion has the specific meaning "secret agreement or cooperation." Despite their playful history, collude and collusion have always suggested deceit or trickery rather than good-natured fun.

Examples of collude in a Sentence

The two companies had colluded to fix prices. accused of colluding to block the sale of the vacant land
Recent Examples on the Web In every single country in Latin America, officials at all levels collude with the drug trade. Deborah Bonello, Los Angeles Times, 14 Nov. 2023 Here's what the world loses Songs and slogans perceived as linked to the protests were outlawed, memories of past protests scrubbed from the internet, sensitive films censored and newspaper editors charged with sedition and colluding with foreign forces. Chris Lau, CNN, 3 Nov. 2023 As Comer tells it, then-VP Biden 'colluded' with this business by ... Lucien Bruggeman, ABC News, 27 Sep. 2023 The original plaintiffs in the case were the Republican attorneys general of Missouri and Louisiana, who accused the White House, D.H.S., and the F.B.I. of colluding with Meta and Twitter to police the speech of conservatives on their platforms. Jonathan Blitzer, The New Yorker, 21 Oct. 2023 The police said the theaters colluded with distributors to exaggerate ticket sales for at least 323 films over the past five years, delivering false information to the Korean Film Council, the government-run body responsible for collecting local box office data. Patrick Brzeski, The Hollywood Reporter, 21 Aug. 2023 Since the beginning of the year, Republicans in Congress have escalated the pressure on tech companies to take a hands-off approach to misinformation, opening an investigation into long-running allegations that the industry is biased and colluding with Democrats to censor their views online. Cat Zakrzewski, Washington Post, 7 Oct. 2023 Amazingly, the Justice Department sued Apple and the publishers for colluding to fix prices. Michael Hiltzik, Los Angeles Times, 28 Sep. 2023 Over a decade ago, the DOJ sued the company for illegally colluding with financial software company Intuit by allegedly refusing to hire its employees. Andrew J. Hawkins, The Verge, 27 Sep. 2023 See More

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'collude.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History


Latin colludere, from com- + ludere to play, from ludus game — more at ludicrous

First Known Use

1525, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of collude was in 1525


Dictionary Entries Near collude

Cite this Entry

“Collude.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 29 Nov. 2023.

Legal Definition


intransitive verb
col·​lude kə-ˈlüd How to pronounce collude (audio)
colluded; colluding
: to agree or cooperate secretly for a fraudulent or otherwise illegal purpose

More from Merriam-Webster on collude

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