conspiracy

[kuhn-spir-uh-see]

noun, plural con·spir·a·cies.

the act of conspiring.
an evil, unlawful, treacherous, or surreptitious plan formulated in secret by two or more persons; plot.
a combination of persons for a secret, unlawful, or evil purpose: He joined the conspiracy to overthrow the government.
Law. an agreement by two or more persons to commit a crime, fraud, or other wrongful act.
any concurrence in action; combination in bringing about a given result.

Origin of conspiracy

1325–75; Middle English conspiracie, probably < Anglo-French; see conspire, -acy; replacing Middle English conspiracioun; see conspiration
Related formscon·spir·a·tive, adjectivecon·spir·a·to·ri·al [kuhn-spir-uh-tawr-ee-uhl, -tohr-] /kənˌspɪr əˈtɔr i əl, -ˈtoʊr-/, con·spir·a·to·ry, adjectivecon·spir·a·to·ri·al·ly, adverbnon·con·spir·a·to·ri·al, adjectivepre·con·spir·a·cy, noun, plural pre·con·spir·a·cies.

Synonyms for conspiracy

Synonym study

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


Examples from the Web for conspiracy

Contemporary Examples of conspiracy

Historical Examples of conspiracy

  • There had been a conspiracy against him; he was outwitted, robbed, befooled.

    Fair Margaret

    H. Rider Haggard

  • A conspiracy between speech and action to cheat the understanding.

  • But Human Natur' is in a conspiracy again' me; I can't get on.

  • My dining with him was part of the conspiracy; he was intoxicated previous to his ruin.

    Vivian Grey

    Earl of Beaconsfield, Benjamin Disraeli

  • It was useless for her intellect to deny this conspiracy, for her heart proclaimed it.

    A Spirit in Prison

    Robert Hichens


British Dictionary definitions for conspiracy

conspiracy

noun plural -cies

a secret plan or agreement to carry out an illegal or harmful act, esp with political motivation; plot
the act of making such plans in secret
Derived Formsconspirator, nounconspiratorial (kənˌspɪrəˈtɔːrɪəl) or conspiratory, adjectiveconspiratorially, adverb
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

Word Origin and History for conspiracy
n.

mid-14c., from Anglo-French conspiracie, Old French conspiracie "conspiracy, plot," from Latin conspirationem (nominative conspiratio) "agreement, union, unanimity," noun of action from conspirare (see conspire); earlier in same sense was conspiration (early 14c.), from French conspiration (13c.), from Latin conspirationem. An Old English word for it was facengecwis. As a term in law, from 1863. Conspiracy theory is from 1909.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper