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cabal Syllabification: ca·bal
Pronunciation: /kəˈbäl/

Definition of cabal in English:


A secret political clique or faction: a cabal of dissidents
More example sentences
  • 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.
  • Indeed, cliques and cabals spring up and create their own behavioral benchmarks, codes of conduct simultaneously acting inclusive and exclusive.
  • We do need to move forward, but as individual states with a common goal, not a superstate dominated by cliques, cabals and vested interests.
clique, faction, coterie, cell, sect, junta, camarilla;
lobby (group), pressure group


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

  • Historically, cabal was a committee of five ministers under Charles II of England (1630–85), whose surnames began with C, A, B, A, and L (Clifford, Arlington, Buckingham, Ashley (Earl of Shaftesbury), and Lauderdale). However, the first recorded use of cabal (from French cabale) was in reference to the Cabbala, the ancient Jewish tradition of mystical interpretation of the Bible. Medieval Latin cabala is the source of several variants of Cabbala, including Kabbalah (the preferred modern spelling), Kabbala, Cabala, and Qabalah, based on a rabbinical Hebrew word for ‘tradition’.

Words that rhyme with cabal

Al, bacchanal, canal, Chagall, Chantal, chaparral, gal, grand mal, Guadalcanál, Hal, La Salle, mall, Natal, pal, pall-mall, petit mal, sal, shall, Val
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