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

— see also conspiracy theory

Synonyms for conspiracy


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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 Khudaverdyan now faces decades in prison for the various offenses, which include conspiracy to commit wire fraud, money laundering, and the computer hacking. Michael Kan, PCMAG, 2 Aug. 2022 However, jurors acquitted her of conspiracy to commit murder and witness tampering charges filed last year. Chris Harris,, 2 Aug. 2022 Ohio law holds, however, that someone involved in a conspiracy to commit murder is as guilty as the person who actually carries out the killing. Chris Graves, Anchorage Daily News, 31 July 2022 Malekzadeh was charged with wire fraud, conspiracy to commit bank fraud and money laundering. oregonlive, 29 July 2022 Another defendant, Chengzou Liu, 36, of Braintree, was indicted on charges of conspiracy to commit money laundering and possession with intent to distribute marijuana, prosecutors said. Jeremy C. Fox,, 29 July 2022 Magbanua, 37, was convicted in May of first-degree murder, conspiracy to commit murder and solicitation to commit murder. Stephanie Pagones, Fox News, 29 July 2022 Allen was found guilty in 2017 on five counts: felony murder, conspiracy to commit child abuse, negligent child abuse, and two counts of intentional child abuse. Miguel Torres, The Arizona Republic, 28 July 2022 Bobbitt pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit theft by deception in 2019 and was sentenced to a five-year special probation period that includes drug treatment. Josh Campbell And Zoe Sottile, CNN, 23 July 2022 See More

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.

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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Time Traveler for conspiracy

Time Traveler

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

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Dictionary Entries Near conspiracy



conspiracy of silence

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Statistics for conspiracy

Last Updated

7 Aug 2022

Cite this Entry

“Conspiracy.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 13 Aug. 2022.

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More Definitions for conspiracy


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


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

More from Merriam-Webster on conspiracy

Nglish: Translation of conspiracy for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of conspiracy for Arabic Speakers Encyclopedia article about conspiracy


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