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[skeem] /skim/
a plan, design, or program of action to be followed; project.
an underhand plot; intrigue.
a visionary or impractical project.
a body or system of related doctrines, theories, etc.:
a scheme of philosophy.
any system of correlated things, parts, etc., or the manner of its arrangement.
a plan, program, or policy officially adopted and followed, as by a government or business:
The company's pension scheme is very successful.
an analytical or tabular statement.
a diagram, map, or the like.
an astrological diagram of the heavens.
verb (used with object), schemed, scheming.
to devise as a scheme; plan; plot; contrive.
verb (used without object), schemed, scheming.
to lay schemes; devise plans; plot.
Origin of scheme
1545-55; < Medieval Latin schēma (stem schēmat-) < Greek schêma form, figure
Related forms
schemeless, adjective
schemer, noun
outscheme, verb (used with object), outschemed, outscheming.
subscheme, noun
underscheme, noun
unschemed, adjective
1, 6. See plan. 2. stratagem, cabal, conspiracy. 5. pattern, schema. 10. See plot. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2017.
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Examples from the Web for scheme
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • You were planning to get away before I got wise to your scheme.

    Doris Force at Locked Gates Julia K. Duncan
  • Then she unfolded a scheme by which, with Bart's savings and her own, they could start a laundry.

    The Opal Serpent Fergus Hume
  • When he heard of the change he said in dismay: Will that affect my scheme?

  • He wondered if she had played any part in hatching the scheme.

    The Root of Evil Thomas Dixon
  • Until I get this Mexican scheme on its feet I shall be going back and forth.

    A Woman of Genius Mary Austin
British Dictionary definitions for scheme


a systematic plan for a course of action
a systematic arrangement of correlated parts; system
a secret plot
a visionary or unrealizable project
a chart, diagram, or outline
an astrological diagram giving the aspects of celestial bodies at a particular time
(mainly Brit) a plan formally adopted by a commercial enterprise or governmental body, as for pensions, etc
(mainly Scot) an area of housing that is laid out esp by a local authority; estate
(transitive) to devise a system for
to form intrigues (for) in an underhand manner
Derived Forms
schemer, noun
Word Origin
C16: from Latin schema, from Greek skhēma form
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for scheme

1550s, "figure of speech," from Medieval Latin schema "shape, figure, form, appearance; figure of speech; posture in dancing," from Greek skhema (genitive skhematos) "figure, appearance, the nature of a thing," related to skhein "to get," and ekhein "to have," from PIE root *segh- "to hold, to hold in one's power, to have" (cf. Sanskrit sahate "he masters, overcomes," sahah "power, victory;" Avestan hazah "power, victory;" Greek ekhein "to have, hold;" Gothic sigis, Old High German sigu, Old Norse sigr, Old English sige "victory").

The sense "program of action" first is attested 1640s. Unfavorable overtones (selfish, devious) began to creep in early 18c. Meaning "complex unity of coordinated component elements" is from 1736. Color scheme is attested from 1884.


"devise a scheme," 1767 (earlier "reduce to a scheme," 1716), from scheme (n.). Related: Schemed; scheming.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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scheme in Technology
(Originally "Schemer", by analogy with Planner and Conniver). A small, uniform Lisp dialect with clean semantics, developed initially by Guy Steele and Gerald Sussman in 1975. Scheme uses applicative order reduction and lexical scope. It treats both functions and continuations as first-class objects.
One of the most used implementations is DrScheme, others include Bigloo, Elk, Liar, Orbit, Scheme86 (Indiana U), SCM, MacScheme (Semantic Microsystems), PC Scheme (TI), MIT Scheme, and T.
See also Kamin's interpreters, PSD, PseudoScheme, Schematik, Scheme Repository, STk, syntax-case, Tiny Clos, Paradigms of AI Programming.
There have been a series of revisions of the report defining Scheme, known as RRS (Revised Report on Scheme), R2RS (Revised Revised Report ..), R3RS, R3.99RS, R4RS.
Scheme resources (
Mailing list:
[IEEE P1178-1990, "IEEE Standard for the Scheme Programming Language", ISBN 1-55937-125-0].
The Free On-line Dictionary of Computing, © Denis Howe 2010
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Idioms and Phrases with scheme
The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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