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

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

Examples from the Web for unplanned

Contemporary Examples of unplanned

Historical Examples of unplanned

  • His walk, unplanned as it was, drew him towards the center of the city.

    The Blower of Bubbles

    Arthur Beverley Baxter

  • So the meeting of Harley Kennan with the man was unplanned and eventful.

  • The heedless, unplanned adventuring of an irresponsible American captain.

    Wide Courses

    James Brendan Connolly

  • That feeling of fear sent a few men, by an unplanned concert of action, to a certain bank before ten o'clock one morning.

  • I think well soon solve the secret of this civilian passenger who has met an unplanned death.

British Dictionary definitions for unplanned



not plannedan unplanned baby



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 unplanned

by 1804, from un- (1) "not" + past participle of plan.



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 unplanned


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.