conspiracy theory

noun
plural conspiracy theories

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 the conspiracy theories surrounding Kennedy's assassination also : a theory asserting that a secret of great importance is being kept from the public … is best known for … his conspiracy theory that a secret cabal of reptilian humanoids is running the world. — Simon Little … has often been criticized for promoting conspiracy theories such as "birtherism," the theory that President Obama was not born in the U.S. — Grace Segers

Examples of conspiracy theory in a Sentence

Conspiracy theories sprung up soon after the leader's assassination.
Recent Examples on the Web Supporters of the conspiracy theory played a prominent role in the Capitol riot on Jan. 6. Marina Pitofsky, USA TODAY, 2 Nov. 2021 People in this game can take any type of conspiracy theory and run with it. Dalton Ross, EW.com, 30 Sep. 2021 Viking, $32), digs in the paradox of our times, how a sophisticated, digital society so easily succumbs to conspiracy theory, anti-vaccination rallies. Christopher Borrelli, chicagotribune.com, 22 Sep. 2021 One forum popular among proponents of the conspiracy theory featured 17 posts about Minaj, most of which championed her as a shining example of how someone from the liberal Hollywood elite had been redpilled. Ej Dickson, Rolling Stone, 16 Sep. 2021 There are some red flags to watch out for (Jamie Spears’s derision of the #FreeBritney movement as a conspiracy theory is actually one of them), so listen in as Babs and Tess go deep into some grim, yet essential, territory. Vulture Editors, Vulture, 6 Aug. 2021 One offshoot of the conspiracy theory insists that the all-powerful cabal is, in fact, not actually comprised of humans. oregonlive, 29 July 2021 One longtime ally told The Associated Press that Trump has given credence to a conspiracy theory that he could somehow be reinstated into the presidency in August. Star Tribune, 14 June 2021 One longtime ally said that Trump has given credence to a conspiracy theory that he could somehow be reinstated into the presidency in August. BostonGlobe.com, 14 June 2021

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.

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First Known Use of conspiracy theory

1863, in the meaning defined above

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Time Traveler for conspiracy theory

Time Traveler

The first known use of conspiracy theory was in 1863

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Dictionary Entries Near conspiracy theory

conspiracy theorist

conspiracy theory

conspirant

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Statistics for conspiracy theory

Last Updated

24 Nov 2021

Cite this Entry

“Conspiracy theory.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/conspiracy%20theory. Accessed 28 Nov. 2021.

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More Definitions for conspiracy theory

conspiracy theory

noun

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

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