cabal

[kuh-bal]
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:
1610–20, for an earlier sense; earlier cabbal < Medieval Latin cabbala. See cabala

caballer, noun

cabal, cabala.


1. junta, faction, band, league, ring. 2. See conspiracy.
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World English Dictionary
cabal (kəˈbæl)
 
n
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
 
vb , -bals, -balling, -balled
4.  to form a cabal; conspire; plot
 
[C17: from French cabale, from Medieval Latin cabala; see cabbala]

Cabal (kəˈbæl)
 
n
English history the Cabal a group of ministers of Charles II that governed from 1667--73: consisting of Clifford, Ashley, Buckingham, Arlington, and Lauderdale
 
[see kabbalah; by a coincidence, the initials of Charles II's ministers can be arranged to form this word]

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition
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Etymonline
Word Origin & History

cabal
1520s, "mystical interpretation of the Old Testament," later "society, small group meeting privately" (1660s), from Fr. cabal, in both senses, from M.L. 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 Britannica
Encyclopedia

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.

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Encyclopedia Britannica, 2008. Encyclopedia Britannica Online.
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Example sentences
Theories about the tightly knit neocon cabal came in waves.
Anybody who attacks the secret subject is, by definition, part of the cabal.
But it's harder to identify a cabal that self-consciously embraced greed as a
  guiding philosophy.
Moreover, he has the habit of craving entry to every club and cabal he can find.
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