conspire

[ kuhn-spahyuhr ]
/ kənˈspaɪər /

verb (used without object), con·spired, con·spir·ing.

to agree together, especially secretly, to do something wrong, evil, or illegal: They conspired to kill the king.
to act or work together toward the same result or goal: The wind and rain conspired to strip the trees of their fall color.

verb (used with object), con·spired, con·spir·ing.

to plot (something wrong, evil, or illegal).

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Origin of conspire

First recorded in 1350–1400; Middle English, from Middle French conspirer, from Latin conspīrāre “to act in harmony, conspire,” equivalent to con- + spīrāre “to breathe”; see origin at con-, spirant, spirit

synonym study for conspire

1. See plot.

OTHER WORDS FROM conspire

WORDS THAT MAY BE CONFUSED WITH conspire

connive, conspire .
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2020

VOCAB BUILDER

What does conspire mean?

Conspire commonly means to secretly plan with multiple other people to do something wrong, evil, or illegal.

Such a plan is called a conspiracy. 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 conspiring to commit a crime.

Conspire can also mean to act together to achieve some result. This use often likens inanimate objects to people engaging in a conspiracy, as in I was on time until the traffic and the weather conspired to make me late. 

Example: In the movie, supervillains conspire to steal all of the world’s bananas.

Where does conspire come from?

The first records of the word conspire 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.”

When people hear the word conspire, they often think of shady people making shady plans in shady backrooms. The word typically implies both secrecy and evil—people who conspire are usually up to no good and they’re trying to hide it.

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 conspiring together. 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.

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What are some other forms related to conspire?

What are some synonyms for conspire?

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

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

 

How is conspire used in real life?

Conspire is usually used negatively. But it can also be used to refer to people working together in secret to do something that’s not so evil—like when your friends conspire to throw you a surprise party.

 

 

Try using conspire!

Is conspire used correctly in the following sentence?

Several top-ranking officials were found to have conspired in the bribery scheme.

Example sentences from the Web for conspire

British Dictionary definitions for conspire

conspire
/ (kənˈspaɪə) /

verb (when intr, sometimes foll by against)

to plan or agree on (a crime or harmful act) together in secret
(intr) to act together towards some end as if by designthe elements conspired to spoil our picnic

Derived forms of conspire

conspirer, nounconspiringly, adverb

Word Origin for conspire

C14: from Old French conspirer, from Latin conspīrāre to plot together, literally: to breathe together, from spīrāre to breathe
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