con·​spire | \kən-ˈspī(-ə)r \
conspired; conspiring

Definition of conspire 

intransitive verb

1a : to join in a secret agreement to do an unlawful or wrongful act or an act which becomes unlawful as a result of the secret agreement accused of conspiring to overthrow the government conspired to monopolize and restrict trade

b : scheme

2 : to act in harmony toward a common end Circumstances conspired to defeat his efforts. … the sun and the wind conspired to make splinters out of solid wood.— B. J. Oliphant

Keep scrolling for more

Examples of conspire in a Sentence

conspired to replace the leader with someone more easily influenced foul weather and airline foul-ups seemed to be conspiring to ruin our vacation

Recent Examples on the Web

The indictment charges 12 Russian military officers by name for conspiring to interfere with the 2016 presidential election. Jen Kirby, Vox, "Rod Rosenstein announces Russian indictments: “Blame for election interference belongs to the criminals”," 13 July 2018 Special Counsel Robert Mueller unsealed an indictment on Friday against twelve Russian agents for conspiring to commit cyberattacks targeting Democrats and Hillary Clinton’s campaign during the most recent presidential election. Matt Ford, The New Republic, "Truth Without Consequences," 13 July 2018 Last week a federal grand jury indicted Manafort and Konstantin Kilimnik, a longtime associate in Ukraine suspected by the US of links with the Kremlin, for conspiring to obstruct justice. Peter Grier, The Christian Science Monitor, "Paul Manafort goes to jail: Three questions," 15 June 2018 Wright was sentenced to 28 years for conspiring to kill Americans on behalf of the Islamic State. Danny Mcdonald,, "Estate of Roslindale terror suspect files $5 million lawsuit against federal government," 2 June 2018 Blankenship led the company that owned the mine and was sentenced to a year in prison for conspiring to break safety laws, a misdemeanor. Steve Peoples And John Raby,, "GOP frets over West Virginia as 4 states decide primaries," 8 May 2018 Mitzi Bickers, a former city director of human services and a political consultant that helped Reed win the mayor’s race in 2009, was indicted in April for conspiring to accept bribes to help contractors win city business. J. Scott Trubey, ajc, "New subpoena in City Hall bribery investigation," 2 May 2018 Blankenship led the company that owned the mine and was sentenced to a year in prison for conspiring to break safety laws, a misdemeanor. CBS News, "In West Virginia, ex-con candidate compounds GOP problems," 28 Apr. 2018 One of the biggest and most shocking cases at the time involved James Durward Harper Jr., who was given a life sentence for conspiring to sell secrets for missile technology to Polish intelligence. Nick Bilton, The Hive, "“Threats,” “Ultimatums,” and “Espionage”: Inside Silicon Valley’s Spy Wars," 13 Apr. 2018

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

14th century, in the meaning defined at transitive sense

History and Etymology for conspire

Middle English, from Anglo-French conspirer, from Latin conspirare to be in harmony, conspire, from com- + spirare to breathe

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about conspire

Statistics for conspire

Last Updated

14 Nov 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for conspire

The first known use of conspire was in the 14th century

See more words from the same century

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for conspire



English Language Learners Definition of conspire

: to secretly plan with someone to do something that is harmful or illegal

: to happen in a way that produces bad or unpleasant results


con·​spire | \kən-ˈspīr \
conspired; conspiring

Kids Definition of conspire

1 : to make an agreement with others especially in secret to do an unlawful act

2 : to act together Events conspired to spoil our plans.

con·​spire | \kən-ˈspīr \
conspired; conspiring

Legal Definition of conspire 

: to join in a conspiracy — compare solicit

History and Etymology for conspire

Latin conspirare to be in harmony, to join in an unlawful agreement, from com- together + spirare to breathe

Keep scrolling for more

Comments on conspire

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


a trusted follower

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Difficult Vocab Quiz

  • the-education-of-achilles-eugne-delacroix
  • Which is a synonym of discomfit?
How Strong Is Your Vocabulary?

Test your vocabulary with our 10-question quiz!

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!