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

Jeremy Reichberg, one of the Brooklyn businessman, and former NYPD deputy inspector James Grant face conspiracy charges in what prosecutors described as a corruption scheme that stretched from top NYPD officials to City Hall. Zolan Kanno-youngs, WSJ, "Jury Begins Deliberations in NYPD Corruption Trial," 26 Dec. 2018 The former Bloomington, Indiana, resident pleaded guilty in 2003 to child pornography and international conspiracy charges. Amy Beth Hanson, The Seattle Times, "First-ever child porn suspect on FBI list pleads guilty," 16 Oct. 2018 The remaining conspiracy charge carries a penalty of up to life in prison. Fox News, "2nd trial in case that shined light on missing Native women," 16 Sep. 2018 Manafort faces 18 counts of bank fraud, tax evasion, and conspiracy charges. Jennie Neufeld, Vox, "Vox Sentences: Manafort’s livin’ lavish; he’s got expensive fabrics," 2 Aug. 2018 Rick Gates, another Trump campaign aide, pleaded guilty to lying to investigators and one conspiracy charge. Rob Tornoe, Philly.com, "Ahead of Trump's meeting with Putin, Mueller indicts 12 Russians for hacking DNC emails," 13 July 2018 The maximum sentence on the conspiracy charge is five years in prison. Washington Post, "Feds: Kentucky coal mine supervisors cheated on dust samples," 11 July 2018 The commissioner, who surrendered to FBI agents soon after the November 2016 election on a bribery conspiracy charge, is the only politician to be convicted so far. Jay Weaver, miamiherald, "Opa-locka fixer Dante Starks pleads guilty, may implicate top politicians," 25 June 2018 Mueller has also indicted 13 Russian nationals and three Russian companies on conspiracy charges related to the propaganda effort in the 2016 election. Tessa Berenson, Time, "Donald Trump’s Campaign to Discredit the Russia Investigation May Be Working. It’s Also Damaging American Democracy," 7 June 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

19 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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