I know there's a word for "like-minded" people, generally used in a negative context. For example, you could say employees of the CIA are __, in that they all want to ensure the security of the nation, whatever the price/cost. I think it starts with a "c", it's on the tip of my tongue and I can't think of it. Any ideas?

Just editing this a bit. Thanks everyone for your responses. It may not start with a "c" but the word "cadre" is close to what I'm looking for, but once again with a potentially more negative association.

  • Comrades in arms?
    – WS2
    Mar 15, 2014 at 21:30

12 Answers 12


The word you may be thinking of is conformity, a term in psychology.

Conformity is the act of matching attitudes, beliefs, and behaviors to group norms... [and] may result from subtle unconscious influences, or direct and overt social pressure.

So you can say this:

Employees of the CIA are conformists...

Other related words and phrases:

Groupthink Coined in 1972 and now in mainstream usage, it's a phrase used in psychology describing the tendency of a group to reach a uniform way of thinking or behaving. As the reference states, people in the group who oppose the consensus normally remain quiet, and therefore, there may be now counterbalancing opinion to sway the groups behavior.

The wikipedia article on the subject states:

the desire for harmony or conformity in the group results in an incorrect or deviant decision-making outcome.

I would modify your example a bit, like this, maybe:

Employees of the CIA practice groupthink...

The wikipedia articles point to other related terms, and going into their details becomes general reference and can be researched directly:

spiral of silence
collective behavior
conspiracy of silence
bandwagon effect
code of silence


Coming after the words Employees of the CIA are, is one or more of the following an apt fit? I've limited myself to the hard C sound, since that seems to be the sound which you find on the tip of your tongue!

  • collaborators

  • working collaboratively

  • a coterie

  • a cabal

  • cohorts

  • a contingent

  • compatriots

  • a clan

I'll let you know if I come up with some more.


Though more often used in social contexts than spy groups, you may be thinking of clique. it starts with a "c" and has a negative connotation.

clique: A small, exclusive group of individuals; cabal

cabal and coterie are both listed as synonyms. You could also use circle.

Though if you're focusing more on the shared-philosophy aspect than the distinct-group aspect, there's

camp: A group of people with the same strong ideals or political leanings.

comrades, or even cult.


The word you might be looking for (if it does begin with "c") is "concordant". Or possibly "concurring". But as a practical choice, I'd say "in accord".


Cut from the same cloth it means like minded, and similar in nature.

Consistent also works here.

But, I don't think of either as a pejorative (like you had wanted).

You might substitute Hawkish in that one instance, though. Meaning supportive of warlike foreign policy.

Also Coterie or Clique


While I like some of the others listed as well, consider your context with

coconspirator: a member of a conspiracy

confederacy: a group of conspirators banded together to achieve some harmful or illegal purpose


I think a really good phrase with a bit of a negative connotation is drinking the Kool-aid.

is a figure of speech commonly used in the United States that refers to a person or group holding an unquestioned belief, argument, or philosophy without critical examination.

If you are in the CIA in the US you are definitely drinking the Kool-aid or you vanish.


Consider coalition, thus coalitionist or coalitioner.

coalition: a group of people, groups, or countries who have joined together for a common purpose

coalitionist (or coalitioner): a person who supports or joins a coalition


According to a Psychology Today article referenced in the Wikipedia article, Orwell defined Groupthink as "concurrence-seeking".

While the dictionary definition of concurrence agrees with that usage, I think more of simultaneity when I hear "concurrence".

After hearing NSA whistleblowers William Binney and Thomas Drake speak about their experiences bucking the system, there are a couple of other 'c' words that come to mind.


A word that has come up more often, especially on the website Reddit, is circlejerk.

Circlejerk (used as a noun, "X is a circlejerk") refers to a group of like-minded people centered around a given topic who are hostile to dissenting opinions regarding the topic.

  • Could you add a definition to your answer and, ideally, a link to a reputable source? I think this is especially important here given that one of the meanings (the vulgar one) is not suitable for the OP's needs!
    – nxx
    Mar 16, 2014 at 2:19
  • Ah, I probably cannot get a reputable source but I'll add the definition.
    – Erikster
    Mar 16, 2014 at 23:19

how about this word: comrades-in-arms

  • Don't know why this suggestion was down-voted. It kinda fits, and the OP is talking about the CIA; spies, double agents, cold war, Russia, communism, comrade etc. Maybe if you included a definition and a link, that would strengthen your answer.
    – Mari-Lou A
    Nov 4, 2014 at 6:10

"the CIA set", or "the intelligence set"

  • Please re-read the OP's question. This meets none of OP's needs. Mar 16, 2014 at 5:30

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