1
as in gang
a group involved in secret or criminal activities members of the conspiracy recognized each other by a secret handshake

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2
as in complicity
a secret agreement or cooperation between two parties for an illegal or dishonest purpose a conspiracy among the leading manufacturers to fix prices

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3

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How does the noun conspiracy differ from other similar words?

Some common synonyms of conspiracy are cabal, intrigue, machination, and plot. While all these words mean "a plan secretly devised to accomplish an evil or treacherous end," conspiracy implies a secret agreement among several people usually involving treason or great treachery.

a conspiracy to fix prices

When would cabal be a good substitute for conspiracy?

The synonyms cabal and conspiracy are sometimes interchangeable, but cabal typically applies to political intrigue involving persons of some eminence.

a cabal among powerful senators

When might intrigue be a better fit than conspiracy?

While the synonyms intrigue and conspiracy are close in meaning, intrigue suggests secret underhanded maneuvering in an atmosphere of duplicity.

backstairs intrigue

In what contexts can machination take the place of conspiracy?

In some situations, the words machination and conspiracy are roughly equivalent. However, machination implies a contriving of annoyances, injuries, or evils by indirect means.

the machinations of a party boss

When is it sensible to use plot instead of conspiracy?

While in some cases nearly identical to conspiracy, plot implies careful foresight in planning a complex scheme.

an assassination plot

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Cite this Entry

“Conspiracy.” Merriam-Webster.com Thesaurus, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/thesaurus/conspiracy. Accessed 8 Dec. 2022.

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