English Synonyms and Antonyms, by James Champlin Fernald
A conspiracy is a combination of persons for an evil purpose, or the act of so combining. Conspiracy is a distinct crime under common, and generally under statutory, law. A faction is more extensive than a conspiracy, less formal in organization, less definite in plan. Faction and its adjective, factious, have always an unfavorable sense. Cabal commonly denotes a conspiracy of leaders. A gang is a company of workmen all doing the same work under one leader; the word is used figuratively only of combinations which it is meant to stigmatize as rude and mercenary; crew is used in a closely similar sense. A conclave is secret, but of larger numbers, ordinarily, than a cabal, and may have honorable use; as, the conclave of cardinals.