the act or process of making a plan or plans.

Origin of planning

First recorded in 1740–50; plan + -ing1




a scheme or method of acting, doing, proceeding, making, etc., developed in advance: battle plans.
a design or scheme of arrangement: an elaborate plan for seating guests.
a specific project or definite purpose: plans for the future.
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.
a representation of a thing drawn on a plane, as a map or diagram: a plan of the dock area.
(in perspective drawing) one of several planes in front of a represented object, and perpendicular to the line between the object and the eye.
a formal program for specified benefits, needs, etc.: a pension plan.

verb (used with object), planned, plan·ning.

to arrange a method or scheme beforehand for (any work, enterprise, or proceeding): to plan a new recreation center.
to make plans for: to plan one's vacation.
to draw or make a diagram or layout of, as a building.

verb (used without object), planned, plan·ning.

to make plans: to plan ahead; to plan for one's retirement.

Origin of plan

1670–80; < French: ground, plan, groundwork, scheme, noun use of the adj.: flat, plane1, learned borrowing of Latin plānus level (cf. plain1)
Related formsplan·less, adjectiveplan·less·ly, adverbplan·less·ness, nounmis·plan, verb, mis·planned, mis·plan·ning.out·plan, verb (used with object), out·planned, out·plan·ning.o·ver·plan, verb, o·ver·planned, o·ver·plan·ning.pre·plan, verb, pre·planned, pre·plan··plan, verb (used with object), re·planned, re·plan·ning.un·der·plan, nounun·der·plan, verb (used with object), un·der·planned, un·der·plan·ning.un·plan, verb (used with object), un·planned, un·plan·ning.well-planned, adjective
Can be confusedplain plan plane

Synonyms for plan

Synonym study

1. 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. Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Related Words for planning

plan, outlining, devising

Examples from the Web for planning

Contemporary Examples of planning

Historical Examples of planning

British Dictionary definitions for planning



a detailed scheme, method, etc, for attaining an objective
(sometimes plural) a proposed, usually tentative idea for doing something
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 projectionCompare ground plan (def. 1), elevation (def. 5)
an outline, sketch, etc
(in perspective drawing) any of several imaginary planes perpendicular to the line of vision and between the eye and object depicted

verb plans, planning or planned

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

Word Origin for plan

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

Word Origin and History for planning

1748, verbal noun from plan (v.).



1670s as a technical term in perspective drawing; 1706 as "drawing, sketch, or diagram of any object," from French plan "ground plan, map," literally "plane surface" (mid-16c.), from Latin planum "level or flat surface," noun use of adjective planus "level, flat" (see plane (n.1)). The notion is of "a drawing on a flat surface." Meaning "scheme of action, design" is first recorded 1706, possibly influenced by French planter "to plant," from Italian planta "ground plan."



1728, "make a plan of," from plan (n.). Related: Planned; planning; plans. Planned economy is attested from 1931. Planned Parenthood (1942) formerly was Birth Control Federation of America.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

Idioms and Phrases with planning


In addition to the idiom beginning with plan

  • plan on

also see:

  • best-laid plans
The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.