conspiracy

noun
con·​spir·​a·​cy | \ kən-ˈspir-ə-sē How to pronounce conspiracy (audio) \
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

Keep scrolling for more

Synonyms for conspiracy

Synonyms

Visit the Thesaurus for More 

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 But the quiet did not dull the fervor of the movement, now known as QAnon, that sprang up around that post and others laying out the sprawling, ever-shifting web of conspiracy theories and fantasies of impending authoritarian response. Melissa Gira Grant, The New Republic, "The Occult, Terrorizing Politics of QAnon," 3 Aug. 2020 There is surely little need for active measures—spreading conspiracy theories or promoting bogus remedies—when the man in the Oval Office will do that work for you. Jonathan Freedland, The New York Review of Books, "Disinformed to Death," 3 Aug. 2020 Two of Epstein's prison guards were indicted on federal charges of conspiracy and filing false records. Mica Soellner, Washington Examiner, "Alan Dershowitz: Jeffrey Epstein may have 'paid off' prison guards to let him commit suicide," 31 July 2020 Another suspect, 22-year-old Cecily Aguilar, has been arrested and charged with one count of conspiracy to tamper with evidence. Imelda García, Dallas News, "Grieving mother of slain Fort Hood soldier Vanessa Guillén pleads with President Trump for justice," 31 July 2020 Huizar was charged last month with one count of conspiracy to violate the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations (RICO) Act. CBS News, "Los Angeles City councilman faces 34-count indictment in corruption probe," 30 July 2020 Another defendant in the case, Paul Bond, another former SBM Offshore employee, faced two counts of conspiracy to make corrupt payments, according to the SFO. Mengqi Sun, WSJ, "Second Former Unaoil Manager Sentenced in U.K. Bribery Case," 30 July 2020 Braxton Shaw, 37, Michael Coblentz, 42, and Nicolas Martinez, 36, were each charged with one count of conspiracy to obstruct justice and multiple counts of filing a false police report and preparing false documentary evidence, officials said. Fox News, "More LAPD officers could face charges in alleged falsifying gang member data investigation," 14 July 2020 Phone records helped lead investigators to Cecily Aguilar, a civilian now charged with one federal count of conspiracy to tamper with evidence. Washington Post, "Army: Independent probe coming after Fort Hood soldier death," 11 July 2020

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.

See More

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

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about conspiracy

Time Traveler for conspiracy

Time Traveler

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

See more words from the same century

Statistics for conspiracy

Last Updated

6 Aug 2020

Cite this Entry

“Conspiracy.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/conspiracy. Accessed 10 Aug. 2020.

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for conspiracy

conspiracy

noun
How to pronounce conspiracy (audio)

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 How to pronounce conspiracy (audio) \
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 How to pronounce conspiracy (audio) \
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

Keep scrolling for more

Comments on conspiracy

What made you want to look up conspiracy? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).

WORD OF THE DAY

Test Your Vocabulary

Original Meanings Quiz

  • rembrandt painting a young scholar and his tutor
  • Which of the following is the earliest known sense of the word awe?
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?

TAKE THE QUIZ
Add Diction

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

TAKE THE QUIZ
Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!