Legal Definition and Related Resources of Conspiracy

Meaning of Conspiracy

An agreement between two or more persons to do an act that is unlawful or a lawful act by unlawful means . An inchoate offense and the agreement need not be shown to have been explicit for it can be inferred from the facts and circumstances. See Iannelli v U.S., 95 S.Ct. 1284, 420 U.S. 779, 43 L.Ed.2d 616. In order to constitute the criminal offense of conspiracy, it must be shown that one of the conspirators committed an overt act in furtherance of the conspiracy. See U.S. v Rich, (C.A.Mo.)518 F.2d980.

Conspiracy Alternative Definition

(Lat. con, together, spiro, to breathe). In criminal law. A combination of two or more persons by some concerted action to accomplish some criminal or unlawful purpose, or to accomplish some Eurpose, not in itself criminal or unlawful, y criminal or unlawful means. 2 Mass. 337, 538; 4 Mete. (Mass.) Ill; 4 Wend. (N. Y.) 229; 15 N. H. 396; 5 Har. & J. (Md.) 317; 3 Serg. & R. (Pa.) 220; 12 Conn. 101; 11 Clark & F. 155; 4 Mich. 414.

Synonyms of Conspiracy


  • abetment
  • agreement to accomplish an unlawful end
  • agreement to commit a crime
  • coalescence
  • coalition
  • collusion
  • combination
  • combined operation
  • compact
  • compliance
  • complicity
  • composition
  • concert
  • confederacy
  • comuratio
  • connivance
  • contrivance
  • corrupt agreement
  • countermine
  • counterplot
  • duplicitous agreement
  • intrigue
  • intriguery
  • joint effort
  • joint planning
  • maneuvering
  • plan
  • plot
  • proposal
  • scheme
  • treasonable alliance
  • underplot
  • unlawful combination
  • unlawful contrivance
  • unlawful plan
  • unlawful scheme
  • Associated Concepts: conspiracy in restraint of interstate trade
  • conspiracy in restraint of trade
  • conspiracy to commit felony
  • conspiracy to defraud
  • conspiracy within the Sherman Antitrust Act
  • continuing conspiracy
  • entered into a conspiracy
  • furtherance of the conspiracy
  • overt act

Related Entries of Conspiracy in the Encyclopedia of Law Project

Browse or run a search for Conspiracy in the American Encyclopedia of Law, the Asian Encyclopedia of Law, the European Encyclopedia of Law, the UK Encyclopedia of Law or the Latin American and Spanish Encyclopedia of Law.

Conspiracy in Historical Law

You might be interested in the historical meaning of this term. Browse or search for Conspiracy in Historical Law in the Encyclopedia of Law.

Legal Abbreviations and Acronyms

Search for legal acronyms and/or abbreviations containing Conspiracy in the Legal Abbreviations and Acronyms Dictionary.

Related Legal Terms

You might be also interested in these legal terms:

Mentioned in these terms

Chilling A Sale, Co-conspirator, Co-conspirator’s Exception, Confederacy, Conspirator, Enter, Inconsistent.


You might be interested in these references tools:

Resource Description
Conspiracy in the Dictionary Conspiracy in our legal dictionaries
Browse the Legal Thesaurus Find synonyms and related words of Conspiracy
Legal Maxims Maxims are established principles that jurists use as interpretive tools, invoked more frequently in international law
Legal Answers (Q&A) A community-driven knowledge creation process, of enduring value to a broad audience
Related topics Conspiracy in the World Encyclopedia of Law


This definition of Conspiracy is based on the The Cyclopedic Law Dictionary . This entry needs to be proofread.

Vocabularies (Semantic Web Information)


Resource Description
Topic Map A group of names, occurrences and associations
Topic Tree A topic display format, showing the hierarchy
Sitemap Index Sitemap Index, including Taxonomies The URI of Conspiracy (more about URIs)

Conspiracy in Law Enforcement

Main Entry: Law Enforcement in the Legal Dictionary. This section provides, in the context of Law Enforcement, a partial definition of conspiracy.


This term is a noun.

Etimology of Conspiracy

(You may find conspiracy at the world legal encyclopedia and the etimology of more terms).

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.


See Also

  • Law Enforcement Officer
  • Policeman
  • Law Enforcement Agency

Further Reading

English Legal System: Conspiracy

In the context of the English law, A Dictionary of Law provides the following legal concept of Conspiracy :

1. An agreement between two or more people to behave in a manner that will automatically constitute an offence by at least one of them (e.g. two people agree that one of them shall steal while the other waits in a getaway car). The agreement is itself a statutory crime, usually punishable in the same way as the offence agreed on, even if it is not carried out. Mens rea (See mens rea), in the sense of knowledge of the facts that make the action criminal, is required by at least two of the conspirators, even if the crime agreed upon is one of *strict liability. One may be guilty of conspiracy even if it is impossible to commit the offence agreed on (for example, when two or more people conspire to take money from a safe but, unknown to them, there is no money in it). A person is, however, not guilty of conspiracy if the only other party to the agreement is his (or her) spouse. Nor is there liability when the acts are to be carried out in furtherance of a trade dispute and involve only a summary and nonimprisonable offence. Incitement to conspire and attempt to conspire are no longer crimes.

Some forms of criminal conspiracy still exist at common law. These are now limited to: (1) conspiracy to *defraud (e.g. to commit fraud, theft, obtain property by deception, or infringe a copyright) or to cause an official to act contrary to his public duty; (2) conspiracy to corrupt public morals (See corruption of public morals); and (3) conspiracy to outrage public decency (this might include an agreement to mount an indecent exhibition).

2. A conspiracy to injure a third party is a tort if it causes damage to the person against whom the conspiracy is aimed. It is not necessary to prove that the conspirators used unlawful means. If unlawful means have not been used, conspiracy is not actionable if the predominant purpose of the conspirators was legitimate. Protection of one’s own financial or trade interests is thus a legitimate purpose provided no unlawful means are used; but retaliation for an insult to one’s dignity is not. The operation of the tort in *trade disputes is limited by statute.




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