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 To conspiracy theorists, the Suns managed to overcome the officiating in that game, conveniently ignoring that the Mavericks were called for 10 more fouls. Kent Somers, The Arizona Republic, 7 May 2022 According to showrunner Chris Mundy, who wrote the climactic episode, the answer is a lot simpler than the conspiracy theorists may want to believe. Keith Nelson, Men's Health, 4 May 2022 The intense media interest in the trial has spawned a cottage industry of true crime creators and conspiracy theorists pivoting to covering the trial on TikTok. Ej Dickson, Rolling Stone, 30 Apr. 2022 The platform, which provides a direct port into America's political bloodstream, has tried to rein in extremists, conspiracy theorists and those who used it to divide the country with hate speech, disinformation and propaganda. Frida Ghitis, CNN, 28 Apr. 2022 The party's move to nominate the nation's first 2020 conspiracy theorists to run in major battleground contests creates a complicated political landscape that has some Democrats pouncing. Byrick Klein,averi Harper, ABC News, 25 Apr. 2022 Blazakis said conspiracy theorists have falsely tied a number of events, such as the Sandy Hook and Parkland shootings, to false flags. Sudiksha Kochi, USA TODAY, 20 Apr. 2022 No surprises here: where there are conspiracy theorists, there are usually UFOs. Ashley Stimpson, Popular Mechanics, 18 Apr. 2022 Meanwhile, followers of QAnon and other far-right conspiracy theorists believe, without evidence, that Musk might merge Twitter with former president Donald Trump’s troubled Truth Social network. Washington Post, 14 Apr. 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

15 May 2022

Cite this Entry

“Conspiracy.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 24 May. 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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