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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.
Origin of conspiracy
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 conspiratorial
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • Sister, entering upon this conspiratorial dialogue, unhesitatingly gave her approval.

  • She, too, gave me a conspiratorial wink and patted her handbag.

    Sense from Thought Divide Mark Irvin Clifton
  • Sobered by this threat, Everett looked about with a conspiratorial air and leaned across the table.

    Telempathy Vance Simonds
  • Retrieving my bundle, I joined Amar with conspiratorial caution.

    Autobiography of a YOGI Paramhansa Yogananda
  • Sir John was disappearing, with his stealthy and conspiratorial air, down the staircase.

    The Regent E. Arnold Bennett
British Dictionary definitions for conspiratorial


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 conspiratorial



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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