“cabal: The name given to the ministry which took power in England in 1667 (when Charles II dismissed his chancellor, Clarendon), taken from the initials of its members: Clifford, Arlington, Buckingham, Ashley, and Lauderdale. The term is also used to mean any close-knit group of persons, particularly those involved in intrigue.”
Excerpted from: Cook, Chris. Dictionary of Historical Terms. New York: Gramercy, 1998.