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[kuh n-spir-uh-see] /kənˈspɪr ə si/
noun, plural conspiracies.
the act of conspiring.
an evil, unlawful, treacherous, or surreptitious plan formulated in secret by two or more persons; plot.
a combination of persons for a secret, unlawful, 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.
1325-75; Middle English conspiracie, probably < Anglo-French; see conspire, -acy; replacing Middle English conspiracioun; see conspiration
Related forms
conspirative, adjective
[kuh n-spir-uh-tawr-ee-uh l, -tohr-] /kənˌspɪr əˈtɔr i əl, -ˈtoʊr-/ (Show IPA),
conspiratory, adjective
conspiratorially, adverb
nonconspiratorial, adjective
preconspiracy, noun, plural preconspiracies.
1. collusion, sedition. 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. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for conspiracies
  • Both were adjudged criminal conspiracies, and their dissolution ordered.
  • Complications and conspiracies, both literary and geopolitical, ensue.
  • The vast majority of conspiracies never seem to work out, therefore there must be super-secret conspiracy to sabotage them all.
  • All professions are conspiracies against the laity.
  • He cannot imagine conspiracies so therefore his faith in common opinion fills in that it must be coincidence.
  • Quit looking for conspiracies and simply understand market economics.
  • Which conveniently supports his belief that those who hold different beliefs than him are evil and prone to lies and conspiracies.
  • It seems that great paintings and statues play a leading role in ancient conspiracies.
  • Postmodern novelists have suggested that the contemporary world is an enveloping mystery, a dark chain of conspiracies.
  • These and other homegrown conspiracies were foiled by regular police work.
British Dictionary definitions for conspiracies


noun (pl) -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
conspirator, noun
conspiratorial (kənˌspɪrəˈtɔːrɪəl), conspiratory, adjective
conspiratorially, 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
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Word Origin and History for conspiracies



mid-14c., from Anglo-French conspiracie, Old French conspiracie "conspiracy, plot," from Latin conspirationem (nominative conspiratio) "agreement, union, unanimity," noun of action from conspirare (see conspire); earlier in same sense was conspiration (early 14c.), from French conspiration (13c.), from Latin conspirationem. An Old English word for it was facengecwis. As a term in law, from 1863. Conspiracy theory is from 1909.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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