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


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 The suspects, all from San Antonio, Del Rio and Laredo, were charged with conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute for allegedly selling methamphetamine, cocaine and heroin between June 2019 and April 2021. Taylor Pettaway, San Antonio Express-News, "FBI arrests 22 people accused of drug trafficking in the San Antonio area," 16 Apr. 2021 Authorities have arrested two organizers of the far-right group the Proud Boys, charging them with conspiracy in a new criminal indictment. Clare Hymes, Cassidy Mcdonald, CBS News, "What we know about the "unprecedented" U.S. Capitol riot arrests," 15 Apr. 2021 Members of the Proud Boys have been charged with conspiracy and accused of working together during the Capitol siege. Corey Williams, Star Tribune, "Michigan woman sues official who showed rifle during meeting," 12 Apr. 2021 The four defendants are charged with conspiracy to obstruct justice by destroying records, and the destruction of records in official proceedings, according to the Justice Department release. Josh Campbell, CNN, "Four suspected Boogaloo associates are indicted for allegedly destroying evidence," 10 Apr. 2021 Lugo and Venant are charged with with conspiracy and making false statements to a financial institution. Tiffini Theisen,, "Central Florida couple could get decades in prison for COVID relief fraud, prosecutors say," 5 Apr. 2021 Jonathanpeter Klein and his brother, Matthew Leland Klein, were charged last month with conspiracy, obstruction of an official proceeding, obstruction of law enforcement during civil disorder and other counts over the Washington, D.C. riot. NBC News, "Proud Boys member, brother held without bond for alleged Capitol riot involvement," 5 Apr. 2021 Cruz has been charged with conspiracy to bring migrants to the U.S. causing serious bodily injury and bringing them in without presentation for financial gain, according to officials. Winston Gieseke, USA TODAY, "In California: First lady Jill Biden visits farmworkers on Cesar Chavez Day," 1 Apr. 2021 The defendants were charged with conspiracy to cross state lines with intent to incite a riot; Seale was eventually tried separately. New York Times, "After Reflected Fame, the Artist Karon Davis Steps Into Her Own Light," 31 Mar. 2021

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

21 Apr 2021

Cite this Entry

“Conspiracy.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 21 Apr. 2021.

Style: MLA
MLACheck Mark Icon ChicagoCheck Mark Icon APACheck Mark Icon Merriam-WebsterCheck Mark Icon

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for conspiracy



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


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


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).


Test Your Vocabulary

Name that Thing: Flower Edition

How Strong Is Your Vocabulary?

Test your vocabulary with our 10-question quiz!


Anagram puzzles meet word search.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

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