Is there a word that means scheme or conspiracy, but slightly stronger than that? Like a word you would use to describe an evil murder plot/plan.

Context: Macbeth plans to kill Duncan for throne

3 Answers 3


In many historical dramas I see "coup" used as well as "overthrow." It depends on the context of the evil plan and what's expected or going to happen. You might even use "revolution" if a kingdom or country is headed towards the wrong direction by nobles or others. Otherwise a revolution could imply a change socially, culturally, technologically, etc. but it could be for the worse rather than improvement of society.

  • Would you consider Macbeth's murder of Duncan to be a coup? Thanks
    – Jon
    Commented Mar 7, 2016 at 4:46
  • I forget what happened in Macbeth but if it led to a successful result or involved the government in some way, you can use coup.
    – Aziz
    Commented Mar 7, 2016 at 4:50
  • But if Macbeth didn't kill Duncan intentionally then it is not a coup or overthrow. It depends on the events that led to the murder that will help determine what word classifies the situation best.
    – Aziz
    Commented Mar 7, 2016 at 4:55

I'd prefer to use "collusion". Webster's dictionary defines collusion as

secret cooperation for an illegal or dishonest purpose.

  • Am I wrong, or would this have to be "an act of collusion" to stand on a par with "scheme"?
    – Egox
    Commented Mar 7, 2016 at 12:39
  • For ex: When two people plan to rob a bank together, this is an example of collusion. The act is planning to rob a bank. Did I make myself clear? Commented Mar 7, 2016 at 12:44
  • Clear enough. I guess what I'm getting at is "a collusion" cannot be said as one would "a scheme" or "a conspiracy". To use collusion with an article would require "an act of" before the word. Compare "It was a conspiracy" and "It was collusion." I apologize for being so technical.
    – Egox
    Commented Mar 7, 2016 at 13:29

Perhaps "Connive" could fit in some situations. It certainly depends on the context, but I think is stronger than "scheme."

Connive: (verb) to secretly help someone do something dishonest or illegal M-W

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