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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
If any of your relationships have ended because of differences over political beliefs or your stance on masks, anti-racism protests or conspiracy theories, you may be struggling to name the sense of loss and grief you are feeling.Politics and conspiracy theories are fracturing relationships. Here’s how to grieve those broken bonds.|Jeff Schrum|February 11, 2021|Washington Post
In recent years, we’ve seen the dangers of conspiracy theories spreading unchecked across the internet, from QAnon to anti-vaxxers.Twenty-Six Words Created the Internet. What Will It Take to Save It?|Stephen Engelberg|February 9, 2021|ProPublica
It will take an all-out national effort to dismantle the radicalization pipeline that has planted conspiracy theories in the heads of millions of Americans and inspired last month's attack on the Capitol, experts tell Axios.
The problem of online abuse and misinformation became impossible to ignore over the last year, with harmful online conspiracy theories fueling the pandemic, and political lies threatening the election.How a Democratic plan to reform Section 230 could backfire|Bobbie Johnson|February 8, 2021|MIT Technology Review
Don't make them famous, help them raise money or elevate conspiracy theories.The media can’t ignore Marjorie Taylor Greene. Can they figure out how to cover her?|Elahe Izadi|February 5, 2021|Washington Post
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.
Is it sort of evidence of the Gladwellian 10,000 hours theory?Coffee Talk with Fred Armisen: On ‘Portlandia,’ Meeting Obama, and Taylor Swift’s Greatness|Marlow Stern|January 7, 2015|DAILY BEAST
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.The Shadowy U.S. Veteran Who Tried to Overthrow a Country|Jacob Siegel|January 6, 2015|DAILY BEAST
But a 2011 study of genetic evidence from 30 ethnic groups in India disproved this theory.
All over the world the just claims of organized labor are intermingled with the underground conspiracy of social revolution.The Unsolved Riddle of Social Justice|Stephen Leacock
In the year of misery, of agony and suffering in general he had endured, he had settled upon one theory.The Homesteader|Oscar Micheaux
Dean Swift was indeed a misanthrope by theory, however he may have made exception to private life.Gulliver's Travels|Jonathan Swift
He sympathized with that movement which, during his childhood, culminated in the Cavite Conspiracy (vide p. 106).The Philippine Islands|John Foreman
The other is the new theory: that the Bible is the work of many men whom God had inspired to speak or write the truth.God and my Neighbour|Robert Blatchford