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

— see also conspiracy theory

Synonyms for conspiracy


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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 In 2017 Simon Roche, a leader of a Christian survivalist group called the Suidlanders (an Afrikaans word meaning Southlanders), toured the US and shared lies about mass killings of white farmers with the conspiracy theorist Alex Jones. Joshua Hammer, The New York Review of Books, 7 Sep. 2022 News also reported in May that right-wing conspiracy theorist James Lindsay — who has since been banned from Twitter — published a baseless screed on the organization. Kat Bouza, Rolling Stone, 31 Aug. 2022 The parent company of InfoWars has agreed to face a second defamation trial over the false claims its founder, conspiracy theorist and right-wing provocateur Alex Jones, made about the mass shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School. Aaron Katersky, ABC News, 29 Aug. 2022 He is scheduled to be sentenced in January, and faces a maximum of 20 years in prison for the conspiracy charge, and a mandatory minimum of two years in prison for the identity theft. The Courier-Journal, 28 Aug. 2022 Her guilty plea on a federal conspiracy charge could result in a maximum of five years in prison and a $250,000 fine. Derek Hawkins, Washington Post, 27 Aug. 2022 Giusti pleaded guilty last year to a conspiracy charge and is cooperating with the investigation, and Porter’s case is pending, prosecutors said. Gregory Yeestaff Writer, Los Angeles Times, 26 Aug. 2022 Rapper Fetty Wap is facing at least 5 years in prison after pleading guilty to a conspiracy drug charge Monday. Gina Martinez, CBS News, 22 Aug. 2022 In addition to the conspiracy charge, Geas and DeCologero are charged with aiding and abetting first-degree murder and assault resulting in serious bodily injury, the statement said. Elizabeth Wolfe, CNN, 18 Aug. 2022 See More

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.

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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Time Traveler for conspiracy

Time Traveler

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

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Dictionary Entries Near conspiracy



conspiracy of silence

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Statistics for conspiracy

Last Updated

24 Sep 2022

Cite this Entry

“Conspiracy.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 3 Oct. 2022.

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More Definitions for conspiracy


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

More from Merriam-Webster on conspiracy

Nglish: Translation of conspiracy for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of conspiracy for Arabic Speakers Encyclopedia article about conspiracy


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