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scheme Line breaks: scheme

Definition of scheme in English:


1A large-scale systematic plan or arrangement for attaining some particular object or putting a particular idea into effect: the occupational sick pay scheme
More example sentences
  • While there may be sound business reasons to focus on clever marketing schemes and building new stadiums, such a focus has come at the expense of the quality of play.
  • He always had various practical schemes and engineering ideas he thought could help other countries.
  • Franchise masters and headquarters staff are on hand to help new franchisees establish their business, and provide planning advice and marketing schemes.
enterprise, venture, measure, move, course of action, line of action;
system, procedure, design, formula, recipe;
proposal, proposition, suggestion, idea, blueprint
British informal wheeze
Australian informal lurk
archaic shift
1.1A secret or underhand plan; a plot: police uncovered a scheme to steal paintings worth more than $250,000
More example sentences
  • I have no ulterior motives, no plots or secret schemes.
  • They still thought I had secret plans, evil schemes, and I was at a loss as to how to convince them otherwise.
  • With the Filumena caught up in a bootlegging scheme, the plot goes wrong and a constable is murdered, leaving her to hang.
plot, intrigue, conspiracy, secret plan;
informal game, racket, scam, dodge
South African informal schlenter
1.2A particular ordered system or arrangement: a classical rhyme scheme
More example sentences
  • Some residents are also claiming the finished building has not followed the design and colour scheme which was approved.
  • To assess the central questions of the investigation we devised a coding scheme.
  • Both of these rooms have a similar colour scheme to the hall and are in immaculate condition.
arrangement, system, organization, configuration, pattern, format, layout, disposition
technical schema
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.


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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


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.

  • This was originally a term in rhetoric for ‘a figure of speech’. It comes from Latin schema, from Greek. An early sense in English was ‘diagram of the position of celestial objects’, giving rise to ‘diagram, outline’, which led to the current senses.


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.

Words that rhyme with scheme

abeam, agleam, beam, blaspheme, bream, deem, deme, downstream, dream, esteem, extreme, gleam, hakim, kilim, meme, midstream, Nîmes, régime, scream, seam, seem, steam, stream, supreme, team, teem, theme, upstream

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