View synonyms for plan



[ plan ]


  1. a scheme or method of acting, doing, proceeding, making, etc., developed in advance:

    battle plans.

    Synonyms: system, formula, plot

  2. a design or scheme of arrangement:

    an elaborate plan for seating guests.

  3. a specific project or definite purpose:

    plans for the future.

  4. Also called plan view. a drawing made to scale to represent the top view or a horizontal section of a structure or a machine, as a floor layout of a building.

    Synonyms: chart, diagram, draft, sketch

  5. a representation of a thing drawn on a plane, as a map or diagram:

    a plan of the dock area.

  6. (in perspective drawing) one of several planes in front of a represented object, and perpendicular to the line between the object and the eye.
  7. a formal program for specified benefits, needs, etc.:

    a pension plan.

verb (used with object)

, planned, plan·ning.
  1. to arrange a method or scheme beforehand for (any work, enterprise, or proceeding):

    to plan a new recreation center.

    Synonyms: plot, devise, design

  2. to make plans for:

    to plan one's vacation.

  3. to draw or make a diagram or layout of, as a building.

verb (used without object)

, planned, plan·ning.
  1. to make plans:

    to plan ahead; to plan for one's retirement.


  1. variant of plano- 1 before a vowel:



/ plæn /


  1. a detailed scheme, method, etc, for attaining an objective
  2. sometimes plural a proposed, usually tentative idea for doing something
  3. a drawing to scale of a horizontal section through a building taken at a given level; a view from above an object or an area in orthographic projection Compare ground plan elevation
  4. an outline, sketch, etc
  5. (in perspective drawing) any of several imaginary planes perpendicular to the line of vision and between the eye and object depicted


  1. to form a plan (for) or make plans (for)
  2. tr to make a plan of (a building)
  3. tr; takes a clause as object or an infinitive to have in mind as a purpose; intend

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Other Words From

  • planless adjective
  • planless·ness noun
  • mis·plan verb misplanned misplanning
  • outplan verb (used with object) outplanned outplanning
  • over·plan verb overplanned overplanning
  • pre·plan verb preplanned preplanning
  • re·plan verb (used with object) replanned replanning
  • under·plan verb (used with object) underplanned underplanning
  • un·plan verb (used with object) unplanned unplanning
  • well-planned adjective

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Word History and Origins

Origin of plan1

First recorded in 1670–80; from French: “ground, plan, groundwork, scheme,” noun use of the adjective: “flat” ( plane 1 ), a learned borrowing of Latin plānus “level” ( plain 1 )

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Word History and Origins

Origin of plan1

C18: via French from Latin plānus flat; compare plane 1, plain 1

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Idioms and Phrases

In addition to the idiom beginning with plan , also see best-laid plans .

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Synonym Study

Plan, project, design, scheme imply a formulated method of doing something. Plan refers to any method of thinking out acts and purposes beforehand: What are your plans for today? A project is a proposed or tentative plan, often elaborate or extensive: an irrigation project. Design suggests art, dexterity, or craft (sometimes evil and selfish) in the elaboration or execution of a plan, and often tends to emphasize the purpose in view: a misunderstanding brought about by design. A scheme is apt to be either a speculative, possibly impracticable, plan, or a selfish or dishonest one: a scheme to swindle someone.

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Example Sentences

The plan is to stretch it out as long as possible, then probably forget about it, and then suddenly remember it.

Did the airline file a flight plan that took account of the weather en route from Surabaya, Indonesia, to Singapore?

The various members met for the first time when they traveled to Gambia at the beginning of December to carry out their plan.

Her new comments will only add to ongoing speculation that the Yorks plan, one day, to remarry.

The family behind Sotto Sotto says that they plan to rebuild, but an insider tells me it may be a while.

They shall plan how this may be done with due propriety, and shall advise us of their action.

Gordon gave a bitter laugh and went on, with the same strange, serious air of explaining his plan.

Joachim, as time showed, never forgave the Emperor for the failure of his cherished plan.

Ripperda's attention was next directed to put his plan of escape, in train for execution.

Still another kind of war credit bank was created on the co-operative plan to assist the middle and lower classes.


Definitions and idiom definitions from Unabridged, based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023

Idioms from The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.