BEAT THE DOLDRUMS WITH THIS WORD OF THE DAY QUIZ!
Origin of conspiracy theory
OTHER WORDS FROM conspiracy theoryconspiracy theorist, noun
Words nearby conspiracy theory
What does conspiracy theory mean?
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.
Conspiracy theories and the conspiracy theorists who promote or formulate them 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.
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 conspiracy theory, the word theory is used in a general way to refer to a proposed explanation that has not been proven. But conspiracy theorists don’t usually treat such theories as just guesses—they often promote them as fact, no matter how bizarre or far-fetched they may be.
Most conspiracy theories involve supposedly secret knowledge of the supposedly secret and evil dealings of powerful people, especially politicians, government officials, billionaires, and celebrities. Such plots are often claimed to have the goal of controlling world events and ordinary people.
Example: Why are several supposedly legitimate news outlets promoting conspiracy theories that have been repeatedly debunked?
Where does conspiracy theory come from?
The first records of the word conspiracy theory come from the early 1900s. Conspiracy 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. Most conspiracy theories are about this kind of thing. The classic image of a conspiracy theory is that of a bulletin board with strings connecting photos of supposed conspirators and newspaper clippings of seemingly random events. In this way, conspiracy theories often ignore the obvious or simple explanation in favor of an interpretation that tries to tie together unrelated elements in a convoluted way. People are often drawn to such theories because of the appeal of having secret knowledge (the “real” story) that the rest of the population is unaware of. The internet has increased the reach of conspiracy theories, raising serious concerns about how they contribute to the spread of misinformation and disinformation.
Of course, some conspiracies are very real. When people plan to commit a crime together, it’s a criminal conspiracy, and sometimes these conspiracies are uncovered.
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What are some other forms related to conspiracy theory?
- conspiracy theorist (noun)
What are some words that share a root or word element with conspiracy theory?
What are some words that often get used in discussing conspiracy theory?
How is conspiracy theory used in real life?
The term conspiracy theory is often used to mock such theories as absurd.
QAnon is no laughing matter. Yes, the video of the 40K Rolex is nutty & amuses you. But the conspiracy theory is now part of the conservative mainstream & it is a domestic terror threat that might radicalize individuals and groups according to the FBI. https://t.co/bFWGgUu7yX
— Wajahat "Wears a Mask Because of a Pandemic" Ali (@WajahatAli) July 5, 2020
quoted at length in todays WaPo: "Americans love conspiracy theories. The X-Files shows us why we fall for them" https://t.co/ctMiPeKw6k
— ACAB for Cutie (@jacobtwop) January 22, 2016
Body: time to sleep
Brain: okay just reading one more conspiracy theory about Justin Bieber shapeshifting into a lizard
— Phil Lester (@AmazingPhil) March 19, 2017
Try using conspiracy theory!
Is conspiracy theory used correctly in the following sentence?
You know the world is weird when the real news reads like some bizarre conspiracy theory.
Example sentences from the Web for conspiracy theory
To complicate matters further, the only people who seemed to have any desire to go after Booker were of the conspiracy-theory ilk.The Ugly Truth About Cory Booker, New Jersey’s Golden Boy|Olivia Nuzzi|October 20, 2014|DAILY BEAST