AskDefine | Define camarilla

Dictionary Definition

camarilla n : a clique (often secret) that seeks power usually through intrigue [syn: cabal, faction, junto]

User Contributed Dictionary



  1. A secret, usually sinister, group of conspiring advisors close to the leadership; a cabal


  • "The same lack of accountability has been even more disastrous for the two state-owned banks, which exist primarily to funnel IMF and World Bank funds to the president and his camarilla in the form of unsecured loans." — Wall Street Journal, September 20, 1990

Extensive Definition

A camarilla is a group of courtiers or favourites which surround a king or ruler. Usually, they do not hold any office or have any official authority but influence their ruler behind the scenes. Consequently, they also escape having to bear responsibility for the effects of their advice. The term derives from the Spanish word, "camarilla" (Diminutive of Cámara), meaning "little chamber" or private cabinet of the king. The term also entered the German language and is used in the sense given above.


In particular, two groups which are called camarillas are those which surrounded the Emperor Wilhelm II and the President Paul von Hindenburg.

The camarilla of President Paul von Hindenburg


camarilla in German: Kamarilla
camarilla in Norwegian: Kamarilla
camarilla in Polish: Kamaryla
camarilla in Russian: Камарилья
camarilla in Swedish: Kamarilla
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