Definition of cabal in English:



  • 1A secret political clique or faction:

    ‘a cabal of dissidents’
    • ‘As bloggers become to become mainstream and not just fringe lunatics muttering in tiny cabals, power will concentrate according to network power laws.’
    • ‘We do need to move forward, but as individual states with a common goal, not a superstate dominated by cliques, cabals and vested interests.’
    • ‘In a party with its cliques and cabals, his distinguishing characteristic is that he has always had an independent streak, looking out for himself and refusing to rely on others.’
    • ‘It is a coerced transfer of income from consumers and foreign businesses to a small, politically active cabal of domestic businesses.’
    • ‘But wait, Ross reveals another shocking secret of the capitalist cabal.’
    • ‘In fact, if drug reformers gain enough political power to threaten the drug-war cabal, an alliance between the two to repress youths is inevitable.’
    • ‘They all contend that the world is being secretly ruled by a shadowy cabal from inside a secret room.’
    • ‘Hardly a day goes past without the same cabals using the same phrases to labour the same points.’
    • ‘They're not a secret cabal that runs things from the shadows or anything, but they are important opinion leaders who happen to be very influential.’
    • ‘Can you vote for all the nefarious cabals that really run the world?’
    • ‘Instead, the film suggests that the sole point of the war has been the manipulation of an emotional public in the pursuit of the nefarious ulterior motives of secret cabals.’
    • ‘Indeed, cliques and cabals spring up and create their own behavioral benchmarks, codes of conduct simultaneously acting inclusive and exclusive.’
    • ‘You have not had the same sense of people putting themselves forward or creating cabals or platforms for leadership.’
    • ‘It means the secret cabal of conservative scholars see you as a threat to their comfortable ivory towers which they have built with taxpayers' money, and thus are trying to censor you.’
    • ‘Like all good cabals, it is hard to know exactly who belongs to the Establishment and how Machiavellian their meddling is.’
    • ‘But there is always a sense of foreboding on such occasions because of the secretive, mafia-like management by a cabal of political operators.’
    • ‘These events warrant dark nights, cruel rains and cabals gathered in corners.’
    • ‘I'm hoping for the latter, not banking on it though because he and his cabal will do anything to maintain control up to and including criminal activity.’
    • ‘There is no possibility of a centralized cabal that could appoint people of only one political coloration.’
    • ‘It's not like this is obscure information known only to specialists, available only at secret annual cabals.’
    clique, faction, coterie, group, set, band, party, camp, gang, ring, cell, sect, caucus, league, confederacy, junta
    pressure group
    ginger group
    View synonyms
    1. 1.1archaic A secret intrigue.
      • ‘If there is in existence a genuine cabal of intrigue and perfidy, the logical targets of such accusations were surely the members of the regime.’
      • ‘In the popular political imagination we're familiar with the neocons as conniving militarists, masters of intrigue and cabals, graspers for the oil supplies of the world, and all the rest.’


Late 16th century (denoting the Kabbalah): from French cabale, from medieval Latin cabala (see Kabbalah).