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

Over a period of several weeks during the late summer and fall, Jones and his fake news and conspiracy site InfoWars were banned from Facebook, Twitter, Spotify, Apple, and PayPal. Eric Bangeman, Ars Technica, "Talk amongst yourselves: 2018’s most-commented stories on Ars," 24 Dec. 2018 Is there somebody who says there was a meeting where Trump discussed conspiracy to do this? Chuck Todd, NBC News, "Supreme Court battle overshadows bad news for Trump," 9 July 2018 The most vigorous questions came from Rep. Jamie Raskin (D-MD), who confronted Pichai over a Washington Post report on conspiracy videos that plague YouTube. Julia Alexander, The Verge, "Google still has no answers for YouTube’s biggest problem," 11 Dec. 2018 Williams is charged with first-degree murder, conspiracy to commit murder and accessory after the fact in her husband’s killing. Gary Fineout, The Seattle Times, "Witness details how he killed lover’s husband for insurance," 11 Dec. 2018 Representative Duncan Hunter, aka The Vaping Congressman, was also indicted on Tuesday on charges of wire fraud, falsifying records, campaign finance violations, and conspiracy. Bridget Read, Vogue, "Duncan Hunter, The Vaping Congressman, Also Got Indicted Yesterday," 22 Aug. 2018 Georgia, like most states, considers home invasions, robberies, assaults and conspiracies to be felony-level offenses with lengthy prison sentences. Michael Mccann, SI.com, "Potential Legal Ramifications of the Disturbing Accusations Against LeSean McCoy," 11 July 2018 The conspiracy involved what federal prosecutors said was $19 million obtained illegally. Mark Alesia, Indianapolis Star, "Man who reaped $800,000 in nursing home fraud is sentenced," 10 July 2018 That the rumor turns out to be untrue is beside the point, as this is a novel in which reality is shaped by gossip and conspiracies. Sam Sacks, WSJ, "Fiction: A Critical Mass of Absurdist Misapprehensions," 30 Nov. 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

5 Jan 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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