Is there a single word that means "a meeting of evil/bad people"? I would like to use meeting or a gathering but with a negative connotation to it.

Rather than writing: "I found myself intruding on a meeting of malicious people."

I'd rather write something along the lines of "I happened across a ____" or "I found myself in the middle of a ____".

I've searched for awhile but haven't been able to find anything that fits.

I don't want to pluralize something like villians, because even though it means more than one evil person, it doesn't give off the correct meaning that I'm aiming for.

Any thoughts?

Edit for more details

Not evil in a fictional way like witches, or in a political way, more criminally centered. People who've committed criminal, inhumane, or despicable acts. A meeting of those types of people.

I've found next to nothing in regards to a meeting besides the usual synonyms, none with a negative connonation. But I have found different words for groups of people, like horde, gathering, which I could spin in a negative manner by adding "of evildoers, "of villians or "of criminals" afterwards, but I was hoping to find a word that can be a combination.

For example, congregation, which is normally an assembly/meeting of churchly folks, but a word applied to the worst of society instead.

Hope that makes things a bit more clear.

  • Please detail the research you've already done. List words or phrases you've already considered but rejected, and explain why. Provide information about the register you're looking for. Full information on word requests at: single-word-requests tag info
    – MetaEd
    Sep 13, 2017 at 17:30
  • 3
    I've always understood cabal as being capable of carrying the (OED definition 4a) sense A secret or private meeting, esp. of intriguers or of a faction, as well as applying to the conspirators or their evil plot. But OED tells me this usage is archaic or obsolete. Sep 13, 2017 at 17:46
  • I happened across a coven or conclave of intrigue-mongers. I don't like a single word here stylistically. A single word does not pack a punch. None of the words for gatherings mean the people at them are intrinsically good or bad...even words like coven or congregation.
    – Lambie
    Sep 13, 2017 at 19:15
  • @FumbleFingers I don't think "cabal" is that archaic, and would make a good answer. Sep 13, 2017 at 19:41
  • @Azor-Ahai: I did actually start off by typing cabal into an answer box on this page. But I couldn't easily find a definition for the "meeting" sense in free online dictionaries, and so since I can access OED through my library card I went there. After seeing their note about "archaic or obsolete", I decided to make my contribution a comment instead. Sep 14, 2017 at 11:08

5 Answers 5


I found myself in the middle of a devil's seminar, a rogues' gathering, a cesspit of the money-gropers that nothing in my previous experience could have prepared me for.

I made these up to suit the rhythm of my sentence, by combining an "evil" term with a "meeting" term. Sometimes a memorable pair of words can grip the reader's mind more strongly than single word.

  • You're right about gripping the readers mind, I can spin two words together to give off the vibe I wanted, I was just trying to find one word to encompass it all. Guess there isn't one, but thanks!
    – Sensoray
    Sep 15, 2017 at 14:10

Almost any answer will have connotations that may not be appropriate to a specific context. A meeting of "evildoers" or "villains" are old fashioned ways to go. A meeting of "criminals" or "conspirators" are more modern, but have legal implications that may not apply. For an audience of moral relativists, if there are any, "a meeting of the moral minority" might work. (As may be apparent, I doubt that true moral relativists are numerous enough to constitute an audience.) "Unscrpulous" or "amoral" might fit. More general terms are "malicious," "uncaring," "cruel," "greedy," etc.

In short, without reference to an audience, a tone, and a context,there are so many terms available that it is impossible to determine which is best suited for your use.


A cabal is a secret group of evildoers, but it would be awkward to use it to refer to a meeting of the group.


Could I suggest conspiracy: http://www.dictionary.com/browse/conspiracy

a combination of persons for a secret, unlawful, or evil purpose

but possibly underworld might work, although you might have to clarify what kind of underworld it was, since it has now developed many other meanings.


  • 1
    I found myself in the middle of a conspiracy would mean totally different from what OP is expecting.
    – Rahul
    Sep 13, 2017 at 17:46
  • I do not know what the OP is expecting. Depending upon what she actually means 'conspiracy' could well mean a group of malicious people, especially if they were meeting for a common purpose. If they were just meeting for a friendly chat, why should they necessarily be evil? I would let the OP decide.
    – Lee Leon
    Sep 13, 2017 at 17:54
  • Finding oneself in middle of conspiracy suggests he is part of it, either a victim or a perpetrator. OP is expecting a word that would describe physical presence in one such meeting.
    – Rahul
    Sep 13, 2017 at 17:56
  • It may suggest that, but it does not mean that - being in the middle of anything does not make you part of it, just because you are surrounded by it. The fear, in fact, is that you will be drawn into it by virtue of your presence.
    – Lee Leon
    Sep 13, 2017 at 17:59

There are several words and phrases for such.

To give you one, a black sabbath is a meeting of people who seek to act against God, usually witches. Can also be called a witch's sabbath if it is witches convening.


  • But that does not always carry an inherently evil context. E.g. in a story where God is corrupt and evil, a black sabbath is a meeting of "good guys". Context is important to observe good versus evil, and then there's still the argument for good and evil being subjective (e.g. the members of a black sabbath will always consider themselves the good guys, they consider God as the evil).
    – Flater
    Sep 14, 2017 at 13:16
  • I do not understand the issue you are raising. Sep 14, 2017 at 13:31
  • The OP asked for a word that describes "a meeting of evil people". Your answer relies on the inherent expectation that those who seek to act against God are irrefutably evil, which is not inherently the case. Context is important, because in the right context (e.g. one where God is evil), a black sabbath can be considered (narrative) good, not evil.
    – Flater
    Sep 14, 2017 at 13:33
  • I still do not understand the issue you are raising. Sep 14, 2017 at 14:32
  • How is a black sabbath a meeting of evil people? How does "black sabbath" inherently mean that the attendees must invariably be evil?
    – Flater
    Sep 14, 2017 at 14:40

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