View synonyms for scheme


[ skeem ]


  1. a plan, design, or program of action to be followed; project.
  2. an underhand plot; intrigue.

    Synonyms: conspiracy, cabal, stratagem

  3. a visionary or impractical project.
  4. a body or system of related doctrines, theories, etc.:

    a scheme of philosophy.

  5. any system of correlated things, parts, etc., or the manner of its arrangement.

    Synonyms: schema, pattern

  6. a plan, program, or policy officially adopted and followed, as by a government or business:

    The company's pension scheme is very successful.

  7. an analytical or tabular statement.
  8. a diagram, map, or the like.
  9. an astrological diagram of the heavens.

verb (used with object)

, schemed, schem·ing.
  1. to devise as a scheme; conspire; plot; contrive.

verb (used without object)

, schemed, schem·ing.
  1. to lay schemes; devise plans; plot.


/ skiːm /


  1. a systematic plan for a course of action
  2. a systematic arrangement of correlated parts; system
  3. a secret plot
  4. a visionary or unrealizable project
  5. a chart, diagram, or outline
  6. an astrological diagram giving the aspects of celestial bodies at a particular time
  7. a plan formally adopted by a commercial enterprise or governmental body, as for pensions, etc
  8. an area of housing that is laid out esp by a local authority; estate
“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


  1. tr to devise a system for
  2. to form intrigues (for) in an underhand manner
“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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Derived Forms

  • ˈschemer, noun
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Other Words From

  • scheme·less adjective
  • schem·er noun
  • out·scheme verb (used with object) outschemed outscheming
  • sub·scheme noun
  • un·der·scheme noun
  • un·schemed adjective
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Word History and Origins

Origin of scheme1

First recorded in 1545–55; from Medieval Latin schēma (stem schēmat- ), from Greek schêma “form, figure”
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Word History and Origins

Origin of scheme1

C16: from Latin schema, from Greek skhēma form
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Idioms and Phrases

see best-laid plans (schemes) .
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Synonym Study

See plan. See plot.
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Example Sentences

In the scheme above, the electric charge comes from the coefficient — the value that swallows the infinity during the mathematical shuffling.

The UK, like a number of other countries, rolled out a job retention scheme, which provides similar support.

From Quartz

Users will need to purchase or already own an Apple Watch to participate in the scheme.

From Fortune

Many San Diego County residents pay some of the highest water rates in the country, but thanks to a state watchdog agency, Imperial Beach and Coronado residents won’t be subject to a suspect water pricing scheme.

Unlike the elections, Lam says, the universal testing scheme is not being carried out on a single day.

From Fortune

Fluoride first entered an American water supply through a rather inelegant technocratic scheme.

In this cockamamie get-rich scheme, would they all issue an apology if he cut a check?

The scheme has been condemned by civil liberties groups and queried by the National Association of Head Teachers.

South Korean police busted up one such scheme in 2011, which was said to have netted millions.

Retailers were hammered by the scheme because checks and balances were scant in 2012, when the eBay grifting peaked.

To see a part of my scheme, from which I had hoped so much, go wrong before my eyes is maddening!

The Duke found no difficulty in awakening the wishes, which were necessary to his scheme, in the mind of young Lorraine.

But I feel sanguine in the spirit of the men; sanguine in my own spirit; sanguine in the soundness of my scheme.

Even if this colour scheme will not work, there is still a justification for the Asquithian phrase.

The operations under the scheme began in August, 1878, when the houses in New Street were pulled down.


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.