conspiracy

noun
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

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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

Killing an elephant in Africa and selling its tusks in Asia is not a crime in the U.S., while conspiracy to ship drugs to the U.S. is. San Diego Union-Tribune, "How a San Diego AI company helped bring down an African crime boss," 24 Aug. 2019 Picky, picky, picky, as the pro-conspiracy hecklers might say. Michael Granberry, Dallas News, "In searching for the next ‘Hamilton,’ the makers of the musical ‘Oswald’ traverse the JFK minefield," 23 Aug. 2019 In July, after pleading no contest to five counts, including conspiracy, Haro was sentenced to the prison term. Nate Gartrell, The Mercury News, "Bay Area woman takes prison term in 21-count felony case," 16 Aug. 2019 The 12-count indictment also accuses the pair of conspiracy, bank fraud and wire fraud. Kate Brumback, chicagotribune.com, "‘Chrisley Knows Best’ couple plead not guilty to tax evasion and other charges," 14 Aug. 2019 For a change, Americans on the left and right were united: Both sides rushed to hint that a dark conspiracy must have been behind the death of Jeffrey Epstein in his jail cell Saturday morning. Kyle Smith, National Review, "The Conspiracy Theories about Jeffrey Epstein’s Death Don’t Make Much Sense," 12 Aug. 2019 The only real conspiracy here is the ageless one between and among prison guards and jail officials who too often treat at-risk inmates with callous disregard and deliberate indifference. Andrew Cohen, The New Republic, "The Completely Predictable Death of Jeffrey Epstein," 11 Aug. 2019 The racketeering conspiracy that the Defendants and other Amazon managers directed was a success. Kaitlyn Tiffany, Vox, "EBay is suing Amazon for “racketeering” and anti-competitive practices," 2 Aug. 2019 Ledford, 55, pleaded guilty one month later to wire-fraud conspiracy, identity theft and money laundering. Tim Prudente, baltimoresun.com, "Looking to splurge on a Towson Ponzi-schemer’s bounty? Mansions, sports cars, even comics up for sale.," 23 July 2019

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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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 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

conspiracy

noun
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

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Comments on conspiracy

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concealment of treason or felony

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