View synonyms for conspiracy


[ kuhn-spir-uh-see ]


, plural con·spir·a·cies.
  1. the act of conspiring.

    Synonyms: sedition, collusion

  2. an unlawful, harmful, or evil plan formulated in secret by two or more persons; plot.
  3. a combination of persons for such an unlawful, harmful, or evil purpose:

    He joined the conspiracy to overthrow the government.

  4. Law. an agreement by two or more persons to commit a crime, fraud, or other wrongful act.
  5. any concurrence in action; combination in bringing about a given result.


/ kənˈspɪrəsɪ; kənˌspɪrəˈtɔːrɪəl /


  1. a secret plan or agreement to carry out an illegal or harmful act, esp with political motivation; plot
  2. the act of making such plans in secret

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Derived Forms

  • conˌspiraˈtorially, adverb
  • conˈspirator, noun
  • conspiratorial, adjective

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Other Words From

  • con·spir·a·tive adjective
  • con·spir·a·to·ri·al [k, uh, n-spir-, uh, -, tawr, -ee-, uh, l], con·spir·a·to·ry adjective
  • pre·con·spir·a·cy noun plural preconspiracies

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Word History and Origins

Origin of conspiracy1

First recorded in 1325–75; Middle English conspiracie, probably from Anglo-French; conspire, -acy; replacing Middle English conspiracioun; conspiration

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Synonym Study

Conspiracy, plot, intrigue, cabal all refer to surreptitious or covert schemes to accomplish some end, most often an evil one. A conspiracy usually involves a group entering into a secret agreement to achieve some illicit or harmful objective: a vicious conspiracy to control prices. A plot is a carefully planned secret scheme, usually by a small number of persons, to secure sinister ends: a plot to seize control of a company. An intrigue usually involves duplicity and deceit aimed at achieving either personal advantage or criminal or treasonous objectives: the petty intrigues of civil servants. Cabal refers either to a plan by a small group of highly-placed persons to overthrow or control a government, or to the group of persons themselves: a cabal of powerful lawmakers.

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Example Sentences

The story is told from multiple perspectives, and gradually zeros in on a conspiracy that explains all the events.

Defendants engaged in a conspiracy to spread disinformation about Smartmatic.

Eleven House Republicans joined Democrats to take the conspiracy theory-promoting lawmaker off her committee assignments.

From Vox

There was a conspiracy unfolding behind the scenes, one that both curtailed the protests and coordinated the resistance from CEOs.

From Time

The Internet-born conspiracy theory is now a real-world movement, labeled a domestic terrorism threat by the FBI.

But at the heart of this “Truther” conspiracy theory is the idea that “someone” wants to destroy Bill Cosby.

Cosby conspiracy theorists share a perspective born of a long, pained history of American racism.

But those strands of his identity are all wound around the conspiracy that led him back to Gambia for the first time in 23 years.

That plane still has not been found, sparking much speculation and many conspiracy theories.

But his motives for shooting John Paul II have remained a mystery shrouded in multiple conspiracy theories.

All over the world the just claims of organized labor are intermingled with the underground conspiracy of social revolution.

He sympathized with that movement which, during his childhood, culminated in the Cavite Conspiracy (vide p. 106).

But when you are there, the awful secret of conspiracy will not be revealed in caverns, dungeons, and darkness.

Scarcely a year passed in which his name was not connected with some conspiracy to overthrow the First Consul.

The law still branded as conspiracy any united attempt of workingmen to raise wages or to shorten the hours of work.


Related Words

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More About Conspiracy

What does conspiracy mean?

Conspiracy most commonly means a secret plan by multiple people to do something evil or illegal.

Conspiracy can also refer to the act of making such plans—the act of conspiring—or to the group making the plans. The people involved can be called conspirators.

In a legal context, conspiracy refers to an agreement by two or more people to commit a crime.

A conspiracy theory is an explanation of an event that claims it was the result of a secret and often complex and evil plot by multiple people. People who promote or formulate conspiracy theories often reject the standard or accepted explanation of unexplained or unusual events and claim that they are the doing of evil conspirators secretly conspiring behind the scenes.

Both conspiracy and conspiracy theory are often used in the context of politics.

Example: This isn’t the work of one man—it’s a conspiracy, and there are more people in on it than you think!

Where does conspiracy come from?

The first records of the word conspiracy come from the 1300s. It ultimately derives from the Latin verb conspīrāre, meaning “to act in harmony” or “to conspire.” It comes from the combination of con-, meaning “together,” and spīrāre, “to breathe.” The suffix -acy indicates a state of action—the state or act of conspiring.

When people hear the word conspiracy, they often think of shady people making shady plans in shady backrooms. The word typically implies both secrecy and evil—people involved in conspiracies are up to no good and they’re trying to hide it. The word is especially associated with bizarre conspiracy theories, but some conspiracies are very real. When people plan to commit a crime together, it’s a criminal conspiracy.

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What are some other forms related to conspiracy?

  • conspire (verb)
  • conspirator (noun)
  • conspiratorial (adjective)
  • conspirative (adjective)
  • conspiratory (adjective)
  • conspiratorially (adverb)

What are some synonyms for conspiracy?

What are some words that share a root or word element with conspiracy

What are some words that often get used in discussing conspiracy?


How is conspiracy used in real life?

Conspiracy is always used negatively. It’s commonly used in the term conspiracy theory.



Try using conspiracy!

Is conspiracy used correctly in the following sentence?

The conspiracy consisted of several top-ranking officials.




conspiracistconspiracy of silence