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

Conspiracy videos about the Rothschilds, a French Jewish banking family that frequently is at the center of global conspiracy theories, appear prominently on many of the yellow vest Facebook feeds. Lori Hinnant, The Seattle Times, "French yellow vest movement dogged by intolerance, extremism," 29 Jan. 2019 Farrakhan endorsed a number of anti-Semitic and homophobic conspiracy theories, saying that Jewish people controlled Hollywood and the government and had engineered marijuana to make black men gay. Anna North, Vox, "The Women’s March changed the American left. Now anti-Semitism allegations threaten the group’s future.," 21 Dec. 2018 Our data repeatedly show Fox as the transmission vector of widespread conspiracy theories. Casey Newton, The Verge, "A majority of Americans don’t think social networks are good for the world," 21 Nov. 2018 September 2018: Following the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks against the United States, a wave of conspiracy theories swept the nation. Popular Mechanics Editors, Popular Mechanics, "Debunking the 9/11 Myths: Special Report - The World Trade Center," 10 Sep. 2018 The Gateway Pundit, a fringe news website that has promoted a variety of conspiracy theories, also has an article credulously repeating Meyer’s claims and connecting the land to the Clintons. NBC News, "Arizona veterans group finds homeless camp — and fuels a new 'pizzagate'-style conspiracy," 7 June 2018 But in office, he's worsened national dislocation by making lying and the peddling of conspiracy theories a central political strategy. Stephen Collinson, CNN, "America should be more at ease than this," 2 June 2018 In the face of widening evidence of Trump campaign culpability in the Russia investigation, Republicans have churned through a frequently mutating series of conspiracy theories to defend him. Jonathan Chait, Daily Intelligencer, "Trump’s FBI Spy Theory Is Completely Insane," 23 May 2018 When combined with the real fact that prominent Nazis such as Adolf Eichmann and Josef Mengele had, in fact, fled to South America, Stalin's deception was the genesis of conspiracy theories that Hitler had somehow survived World War II. Jefferson Chase, USA TODAY, "Hitler's teeth analysis dispels myths of Nazi leader's survival," 21 May 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

Statistics for conspiracy theory

Last Updated

14 Apr 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).


not to be persuaded, moved, or stopped

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Words from Greek and Latin Quiz

  • roman forum
  • Which of the following months comes from a Latin word for “ten”?
True or False

Test your knowledge - and maybe learn something along the way.

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!