[ kuhn-spir-uh-see ]
/ kənˈspɪr ə si /
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See synonyms for: conspiracy / conspiratorial on Thesaurus.com

noun, plural con·spir·a·cies.
the act of conspiring.
an unlawful, harmful, or evil plan formulated in secret by two or more persons; plot.
a combination of persons for such an unlawful, harmful, 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.
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Origin of conspiracy

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

synonym study for conspiracy

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.


con·spir·a·tive, adjectivecon·spir·a·to·ri·al [kuhn-spir-uh-tawr-ee-uhl], /kənˌspɪr əˈtɔr i əl/, con·spir·a·to·ry, adjectivepre·con·spir·a·cy, noun, plural pre·con·spir·a·cies.
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023


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.

How to use conspiracy in a sentence

British Dictionary definitions for conspiracy

/ (kənˈspɪrəsɪ) /

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 forms of conspiracy

conspirator, 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