Cabal (kȧ-băl′), a word used to denote a small party united for political purposes. Formerly it was used to denote a secret committee or cabinet, and in the 17th century was especially applied to the infamous ministry of Charles II of England, which was made up of five members whose initials made up the word cabal. They were Clifford, Ashley, Buckingham, Arlington and Lauderdale. The word goes back through the French to a Hebrew word meaning “something received.”