A cabal is a secret plot, or a small group of people who create such a plot. Some conspiracy theories are based on the idea that governments worldwide are in the hands of a powerful cabal.

Cabal comes from the word cabbala (also spelled kabbala), which refers to a Jewish tradition of interpreting texts. Cabbala is often regarded as a secret and mystical practice and, as such, the word took on the additional meaning of “secret behavior.” Cabal comes from this sense of the word. A well-known cabal in 17th-century England was coincidentally made up of five members whose names’ initial letters spelled the word cabal. (Their names were Clifford, Arlington, Buckingham, Ashley, and Lauderdale.)

Definitions of cabal
  1. noun
    a clique (often secret) that seeks power usually through intrigue
    synonyms: camarilla, faction, junto
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    type of:
    camp, clique, coterie, ingroup, inner circle, pack
    an exclusive circle of people with a common purpose
  2. noun
    a plot to carry out some harmful or illegal act (especially a political plot)
    synonyms: conspiracy
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    Gunpowder Plot
    a conspiracy in 1605 in England to blow up James I and the Houses of Parliament to avenge the persecution of Catholics in England; led by Guy Fawkes
    type of:
    game, plot, secret plan
    a secret scheme to do something (especially something underhand or illegal)
  3. verb
    engage in plotting or enter into a conspiracy, swear together
    synonyms: complot, conjure, conspire, machinate
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    conspire together
    type of:
    plan secretly, usually something illegal
Word Family

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