conspiracy theory


Definition of conspiracy theory

: a theory that explains an event or set of circumstances as the result of a secret plot by usually powerful conspirators

Keep scrolling for more

Other Words from conspiracy theory

conspiracy theorist noun

Examples of conspiracy theory in a Sentence

Conspiracy theories sprung up soon after the leader's assassination.

Recent Examples on the Web

But there are still the requisite conspiracy theories: that Troom Troom is actually run by a millennial woman in San Francisco, or that the Troom Troom girls are being held against their will, forced to make weird DIY videos for ransom. Rebecca Jennings, Vox, "YouTube is full of cringey, clickbait DIY channels. They’re even weirder than you think.," 12 Nov. 2018 As VICE News noted, both allegations are conspiracy theories with no evidence to back them up; and Gosar’s statements led his siblings to publish an op-ed in the Daily Miner in response. Emma Sarran Webster, Teen Vogue, "Arizona Republican Paul Gosar's Siblings Endorse His Opponent," 22 Sep. 2018 Others are complicated conspiracy theories involving obscure figures like a couple of FBI agents. Ryan Teague Beckwith, Time, "Read the 191 Arguments President Trump Has Made Against the Mueller Investigation," 7 June 2018 There are conspiracy theories out there: maybe NBC is irritated at the NHL for not sending its players to the Olympics in February. Ann Killion, San Francisco Chronicle, "Sharks racing toward Round 2 without those old guys," 16 Apr. 2018 And then there were the conspiracy theories: The Skripal case was a plot to sabotage the World Cup; the British, the Slovaks, the Czech, the Swedes or even the Americans could be suspected of cooking up the stuff. Nathan Hodge, CNN, "Putin's missteps over the Russian spy murder," 27 Mar. 2018 The founding texts of the conservative movement, None Dare Call It Treason and A Choice, Not an Echo, are conspiracy theories. Jonathan Chait, Daily Intelligencer, "Donald Trump Is the Most Pure Conservative President Ever," 23 Feb. 2018 His new patter also has to shed a semi-credible backglow on his earlier role as chief flogger of now-defunct Russian conspiracy theories. Holman W. Jenkins, WSJ, "Interpreting the Trump Meteor," 18 Dec. 2018 From Pizzagate to QAnon, YouTube has a serious problem with conspiracy theories. Julia Alexander, The Verge, "Google still has no answers for YouTube’s biggest problem," 11 Dec. 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'conspiracy theory.' 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 theory

1871, in the meaning defined above

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about conspiracy theory

Share conspiracy theory

Statistics for conspiracy theory

Last Updated

6 Jan 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for conspiracy theory

The first known use of conspiracy theory was in 1871

See more words from the same year

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for conspiracy theory

conspiracy theory


English Language Learners Definition of conspiracy theory

: a theory that explains an event or situation as the result of a secret plan by usually powerful people or groups

Comments on conspiracy theory

What made you want to look up conspiracy theory? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


someone who never drinks alcohol

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Homophone Quiz

  • three-bears-two-of-them-look-like-theyre-whispering-to-a-third-bear-who-looks-chuffed-to-be-the-center-of-attention
  • In order to judge how people felt, the senator's office hired a firm to take a ______.
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?

Word Winder's CrossWinder

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.


Love words? Need even more definitions?

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