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.
scheme, plan of action, idea, master plan, game plan, proposal, proposition, ploy, suggestion, project, programme, system, method, procedure, strategy, stratagem, formula, recipe, scenario, arrangement, schedule, agenda;
way, means, measure, tactic, tack, plot, device, manoeuvre, ruse
archaic shift
1.1 [with modifier] A scheme for the regular payment of contributions towards 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.
2An 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, hope, aspiration, ambition
3A detailed map or diagram: 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.
3.1A 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, scale drawing, diagram, sketch, chart, map, layout, artist's impression;
illustration, representation, delineation;
North American  plat
3.2A 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.
3.3(In the Methodist Church) a document listing the preachers for all the services in a circuit during a given period.
Example sentences
  • This page shows the preaching plan for our church for the forthcoming months.

verb (plans, planning, planned)

[with object]
1Decide on and make arrangements for 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
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, think out, design, line up, outline, sketch out, map out, chalk out, draft, prepare, schedule, programme, formulate, frame, project, develop, set up, fix up, shape, build, devise, concoct, contrive;
plot, scheme, cook up, hatch, brew, mastermind, orchestrate, choreograph;
North American  slate
rare excogitate
intend, make plans, aim, propose, mean, be resolved, have in mind, hope, want, wish, desire, contemplate, envisage, foresee, envision, expect
formal purpose
2Design or make a plan of (something to be made or built): she had planned the garden from scratch
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 a plan of, make a drawing of, draw up a layout of, sketch out, make a map of, map out, make a representation of;
North American  plat



someone's (or the) best plan

A person’s (or the) most sensible course of action: William’s best plan would be to get a job
More 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: if all goes according to plan, this money can be used as seed capital for a new business
More 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.

make a plan

South African Devise a way of overcoming difficulties: leave it to me—I’ll make a plan
More example sentences
  • Just making a plan to overcome a problem often helps.
  • The organisers should make a plan for more people to access this play.
  • I even dreamed of some very forward thinking individual making a plan to reintroduce large carnivores to the eastern section of the park.

plan of action (or campaign or attack)

An organized programme 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.

sounds like a plan

informal Used to express agreement with a proposal: I’ll call you later this week for confirmation? Sounds like a plan to me!
More example sentences
  • "We can go shopping or something after school." "Sounds like a plan!"
  • Breakfast and a book sounds like a plan.
  • We'll set the tape at the exact moment and no one will be the wiser. Yeah, that sounds like a plan.


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

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