Definition of scheme in English:


Line breaks: scheme
Pronunciation: /skiːm


  • 2Scottish informal An estate of social housing: the whole scheme is plunged into darkness, bar the light in Victor’s house Sheila and me were in that gang on the scheme
    More example sentences
    • As it turns out he didni walk it from the the scheme into the city after all; he was going to but eventually he couldni be bothered, he took a taxi.
    • I took tram number 17 from his depressing little scheme in the western sector into the city centre.
    • He had his own house down the shorefront scheme; big black finger-stains round the keyhole and the curtains always shut.


Back to top  
  • 1 [no object] Make plans, especially in a devious way or with intent to do something illegal or wrong: [with infinitive]: he schemed to bring about the collapse of the government
    More example sentences
    • Instead of actors following scripts in a studio, audiences can see people very like themselves plotting and scheming for advantage in any setting imaginable.
    • Over the years it has been accused of everything from gross ineptitude and massive corruption to scheming for world domination.
    • There is much evidence that these officers spent much of their time scheming for their own political advantage and in hopes of being assigned their own regiments.
    plot, hatch a plot, conspire, take part in a conspiracy, intrigue, connive, manoeuvre, plan, lay plans
    rare machinate, cabal, complot
  • 1.1South African informal Think; suppose: [with clause]: I scheme it could work
  • 2 [with object] Arrange according to a colour scheme: she was busy arranging flowers, scheming the candles and napkins


the scheme of things

A supposed or apparent overall system, within which everything has a place and in relation to which individual details are ultimately to be assessed: in the overall scheme of things, we didn’t do badly
More example sentences
  • But they are relatively trivial in the scheme of things.
  • On the other hand, the costs of ignoring security and getting hacked have been, in the scheme of things, relatively small.
  • I don't think I'm being totally too free and loose by describing that as a relatively small risk in the scheme of things.


mid 16th century (denoting a figure of speech): from Latin schema, from Greek (see schema). An early sense was 'diagram of the position of celestial objects', giving rise to 'diagram, outline', whence the current senses. The unfavourable notion ‘plot’ arose in the mid 18th century.

More definitions of scheme

Definition of scheme in:

Get more from Oxford Dictionaries

Subscribe to remove ads and access premium resources

Word of the day coloratura
Pronunciation: ˌkələrəˈto͝orə
elaborate ornamentation of a vocal melody