Cabal, a small group of plotters. The term took on special significance in England during the reign of Charles II (1660-85). By coincidence, it represented the first letters of the names of five of Charles's advisers who were engaged in various intrigues: Clifford, Ashley, Buckingham, Arlington, and Lauderdale. The French word cabale, referring to the mystic or secret doctrine of the Jewish cabala, had a similar meaning long before that time. The Conway Cabal against General George Washington is a conspiracy notable in United States history.