Definition of cabal in English:

Share this entry


Pronunciation: /kəˈbal/


1A 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, group, set, band, party, camp, gang, ring, cell, sect, caucus, league, confederacy, junta;
British  ginger group;
Australian/New Zealand  push
historical junto
rare camarilla
1.1 archaic A secret intrigue.
Example sentences
  • 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.
  • 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.


Late 16th century (denoting the Kabbalah): 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

For editors and proofreaders

Line breaks: cabal

Share this entry

What do you find interesting about this word or phrase?

Comments that don't adhere to our Community Guidelines may be moderated or removed.