[ kuh-bal ]
/ kəˈbæl /


a small group of secret plotters, as against a government or person in authority.
the plots and schemes of such a group; intrigue.
a clique, as in artistic, literary, or theatrical circles.

verb (used without object), ca·balled, ca·bal·ling.

to form a cabal; intrigue; conspire; plot.


Origin of cabal

1610–20, for an earlier sense; earlier cabbal < Medieval Latin cabbala. See cabala

Related forms

ca·bal·ler, noun

Can be confused

cabal cabala

Synonym study

2. See conspiracy. Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for cabal

British Dictionary definitions for cabal (1 of 2)


/ (kəˈbæl) /


a small group of intriguers, esp one formed for political purposes
a secret plot, esp a political one; conspiracy; intrigue
a secret or exclusive set of people; clique

verb -bals, -balling or -balled (intr)

to form a cabal; conspire; plot

Word Origin for cabal

C17: from French cabale, from Medieval Latin cabala; see cabbala

British Dictionary definitions for cabal (2 of 2)


/ (kəˈbæl) /


the Cabal English history a group of ministers of Charles II that governed from 1667–73: consisting of Clifford, Ashley, Buckingham, Arlington, and Lauderdale

Word Origin for Cabal

see kabbalah; by a coincidence, the initials of Charles II's ministers can be arranged to form this word
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012