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cabal

[kuh-bal] /kəˈbæl/
noun
1.
a small group of secret plotters, as against a government or person in authority.
2.
the plots and schemes of such a group; intrigue.
3.
a clique, as in artistic, literary, or theatrical circles.
verb (used without object), caballed, caballing.
4.
to form a cabal; intrigue; conspire; plot.
Origin
1610-1620
1610-20, for an earlier sense; earlier cabbal < Medieval Latin cabbala. See cabala
Related forms
caballer, noun
Can be confused
cabal, cabala.
Synonyms
1. junta, faction, band, league, ring. 2. See conspiracy.
Dictionary.com Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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British Dictionary definitions for cab-aller

cabal

/kəˈbæl/
noun
1.
a small group of intriguers, esp one formed for political purposes
2.
a secret plot, esp a political one; conspiracy; intrigue
3.
a secret or exclusive set of people; clique
verb (intransitive) -bals, -balling, -balled
4.
to form a cabal; conspire; plot
Word Origin
C17: from French cabale, from Medieval Latin cabala; see cabbala

Cabal

/kəˈbæl/
noun
1.
(English history) the Cabal, a group of ministers of Charles II that governed from 1667–73: consisting of Clifford, Ashley, Buckingham, Arlington, and Lauderdale
Word Origin
see kabbalah; by a coincidence, the initials of Charles II's ministers can be arranged to form this word
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
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Word Origin and History for cab-aller

cabal

n.

1520s, "mystical interpretation of the Old Testament," later "society, small group meeting privately" (1660s), from French cabal, in both senses, from Medieval Latin cabbala (see cabbala). Popularized in English 1673 as an acronym for five intriguing ministers of Charles II (Clifford, Arlington, Buckingham, Ashley, and Lauderdale), which gave the word its sinister connotations.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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Encyclopedia Article for cab-aller

cabal

a private organization or party engaged in secret intrigues; also, the intrigues themselves. In England the word was used during the 17th century to describe any secret or extralegal council of the king, especially the foreign committee of the Privy Council. The term took on its present invidious meaning from a group of five ministers chosen in 1667 by King Charles II (Clifford, Arlington, Buckingham, Ashley Cooper [later earl of Shaftesbury], and Lauderdale), whose initial letters coincidentally spelled cabal. This cabal, never very unified in its members' aims and sympathies, fell apart by 1672; Shaftesbury even became one of Charles II's fiercest opponents.

Learn more about cabal with a free trial on Britannica.com
Encyclopedia Britannica, 2008. Encyclopedia Britannica Online.
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