Definition of plan in English:

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Pronunciation: /plan/


1A detailed proposal for doing or achieving something: the UN peace plan
More example sentences
  • This will allow residents to look at detailed plans for the proposals and speak to council officers about how they will be implemented.
  • Members are also likely to call for more detailed plans of the other proposed measures, in readiness for public consultation.
  • Lancashire County Council offered to help draw up detailed plans using their proposals.
procedure, scheme, strategy, idea, proposal, proposition, suggestion, action point;
project, program, system, method, stratagem, formula, recipe;
way, means, measure, tactic
1.1 [with modifier] A scheme for the regular payment of contributions toward a pension, savings account, or insurance policy: a personal pension plan
More example sentences
  • In dollar terms, the change in contribution pension plan investment is staggering.
  • Some universities use a private pension plan, so your contribution may vary.
  • I am in the firm's defined contribution pension plan and contribute the maximum for my age.
2 (usually plans) An intention or decision about what one is going to do: I have no plans to retire
More example sentences
  • Elderly residents at two closure-threatened care homes are to get their say in the plans before any final decisions are made.
  • Each girl will be formally interviewed by four judges about their interests and future plans before a decision is made.
  • Ellen has no plans to retire and hopes to be one of the happy band raising money to support Sue Ryder homes for many years to come.
intention, aim, idea, intent, objective, object, goal, target, ambition
3A detailed diagram, drawing, or program, in particular.
3.1A fairly large-scale map of a town or district: a street plan
More example sentences
  • The point of education is not to give pupils a street plan of their local district but a putative map of the world.
  • The plans should incorporate street furniture, paving, lighting and trees.
  • Oxford residents have expressed their anger at development plans on St Giles Street and at Keble College.
3.2A drawing or diagram made by projection on a horizontal plane, especially one showing the layout of a building or one floor of a building. Compare with elevation (sense 3).
Example sentences
  • As per law, it is either the BMRDA or the BDA which have powers to approve the layouts and building plans.
  • While drawing up plans for city centre buildings, he often helped children with their school design projects.
  • Very few building plans are at a scale where internal arrangement can be properly read.
blueprint, drawing, diagram, sketch, layout;
illustration, representation
3.3A diagram showing how something will be arranged: look at the seating plan
More example sentences
  • You can, in fact, check seating plans through airline websites - if you know how to find them.
  • Know the seating plan and etiquette before boarding the company jet.
  • Tonight we're chilling after sorting out the seating plan and printing out the place cards for the wedding.

verb (plans, planning, planned)

[with object]
1Decide on and arrange in advance: they were planning a trip to Egypt [with infinitive]: he plans to fly on Wednesday [no object]: we plan on getting married in the near future we have to plan for the future
More example sentences
  • The restaurant is quite a good size but due to popularity it is essential to book in advance if you plan on having dinner there.
  • Before you plan a trip, decide whether you'd rather try a wilderness lodge or a guest ranch.
  • This is fantastic news if you plan on making a trip to the US this year.
organize, arrange, work out, design, outline, map out, prepare, schedule, formulate, frame, develop, devise, concoct;
plot, scheme, hatch, brew, slate
intend, aim, propose, mean, hope, want, wish, desire, envisage
formal purpose
2Design or make a plan of (something to be made or built): they were planning a garden
More example sentences
  • It is not necessary to have only indigenous plants when planning a xeriscape design.
  • We walked for miles here, thinking very thoroughly, talking, taking hundreds of photographs, planning the design.
  • I'm planning a couple of design changes to this blog, and rounded corners may well make an appearance in the new version.
design, draw up, sketch out, map out



someone's (or the) best plan

A person’s (or the) most sensible course of action.
Example sentences
  • The Pakistan board wanted faster pitches for them but their best plan now would be to prepare turners.
  • Probably their best plan, however, is to ignore him and hope that no one will notice what he says.
  • The task force concluded that it's best plan of action is to have a ‘lean staffing model’ in which ‘excellence’ is placed ahead of volume and compensation is, thus, high.

go according to plan

Happen as one arranged or intended.
Example sentences
  • Everything had been planned for and everything went according to plan.
  • As a project manager, I know too well that when you operate in a tight time frame, no matter how much you plan, nothing goes according to plan.
  • But the married father-of-three, who has 22 years' experience, is confident that arrangements will go according to plan.

plan of action (or attack)

An organized program of measures to be taken in order to achieve a goal.
Example sentences
  • These five goals were discussed to determine a plan of action to achieve them.
  • With respect to the forethought phase of self-regulation, the primary participants continued to set goals and devise plans of action for navigating their college-level courses.
  • The document, however, failed to detail any environmental goals or plan of attack.


Late 17th century: from French, from earlier plant 'ground plan, plane surface', influenced in sense by Italian pianta 'plan of building'. Compare with plant.

  • plain from Middle English:

    The source of both plain and plane is Latin planus ‘flat’. Mathematicians introduced the spelling plane in the early 17th century to distinguish the geometrical uses of plain from senses such as ‘ordinary’ and ‘simple’. The sort of plane used to make wood flat is from the same source. Plane meaning ‘an aircraft’ is unconnected, and is a shortening of aeroplane. Also unconnected is the plane tree (Late Middle English), which is not flat but ‘broad’, the meaning of its Greek source platus. The plan of a building (mid 17th century), which involves putting something three-dimensional on a flat surface, is, however, related. The earlier version of the expression as plain as a pikestaff, ‘very obvious’, was as plain as a packstaff, which gives a small clue as to its origins. A packstaff was a long stick which a peddler used to carry his pack of goods for sale, which would probably have been obvious from a distance as the peddler trudged along the road. By the end of the 16th century people had started to use the current version with pikestaff, and a hundred years later it had more or less taken over. A pikestaff was a walking stick with a pointed metal tip, which possibly replaced packstaff because it sounded similar and peddlers were becoming a less familiar sight. The phrase plain sailing, ‘smooth and easy progress’, probably represents a use of plane sailing, referring to the practice of determining a ship's position on the theoretical assumption that it is moving on a plane. Plain Jane first appears in 1912, in Carnival by Compton Mackenzie. There was probably no real Jane behind the phrase, just a fortunate rhyme.

Words that rhyme with plan

Aberfan, Adrianne, an, Anne, artisan, astrakhan, ban, began, Belmopan, bipartisan, bran, can, Cannes, Cézanne, Cheyenne, clan, courtesan, cran, dan, Dayan, Diane, divan, élan, Elan, fan, flan, foreran, Fran, Friedan, Gell-Mann, gran, Han, Hunan, Ivan, Jan, Japan, Jinan, Joanne, Kazan, Klan, Kordofan, Lacan, Lausanne, Leanne, Limousin, Louvain, man, Mann, Marianne, Milan, Moran, nan, Oran, outran, outspan, Pan, panne, parmesan, partisan, pavane, pecan, Pétain, Pusan, ran, rataplan, rattan, Rosanne, Sagan, Saipan, saran, scan, scran, sedan, span, spick-and-span, Spokane, Suzanne, Tainan, tan, than, tisane, trepan, van, vin, Wuhan, Xian, Yerevan, Yunnan, Zhongshan

For editors and proofreaders

Syllabification: plan

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