Definition of plan in English:



  • 1A detailed proposal for doing or achieving something.

    ‘the UN peace plan’
    • ‘There's a lot of concern about the way it's been waged, and the fact that there's no plan to achieve peace.’
    • ‘The plan proposes to rehabilitate the sewer system in the area and to upgrade the infrastructure in and around the river.’
    • ‘The city council says the policy is no longer consistent with what it wants to achieve in its plan.’
    • ‘The plans will also include proposals for a tsunami warning system.’
    • ‘A council spokesman said the proposal was part of plans to cut more than 2,000 surplus school places.’
    • ‘Lancashire County Council offered to help draw up detailed plans using their proposals.’
    • ‘The plan failed to achieve a simple majority of the Ankara parliament in a knife-edge vote on Saturday.’
    • ‘If the proposed plans go ahead there is a very real danger that the closure of this business will lead to the loss of this unique service.’
    • ‘While on the university level the plans were achieved, not all the proposed schools were opened.’
    • ‘Such reviews would establish if the plan is actually achieving its initial aims.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Negotiations in both villages are to take place to see if those plans can be achieved.’
    • ‘All three have said they proposed to approve the plans, subject to the Secretary of State's views.’
    • ‘These are both goal-oriented symbols, which speak to us of making plans in order to achieve our desires.’
    • ‘According to a defence analyst here, he is close to achieving a plan already worked out when he was elected 10 months ago.’
    • ‘He said a consultancy will be awarded soon to look at existing system and formulate plans for fixing it.’
    • ‘There is a lot of extra cost if an application has to be heard under both an operative and a proposed plan at the same time.’
    • ‘Why is it that theoretical plans and practical achievements in the Scottish health service are incapable of marrying up?’
    • ‘He said the only way of achieving the plan would be to identify areas where costs could be cut while ensuring care in areas of clinical necessity.’
    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
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    1. 1.1[with modifier]A scheme for the regular payment of contributions towards a pension, savings account, or insurance policy.
      ‘a personal pension plan’
      • ‘An excuse many of us give for failing to save is that we plan to use our homes as our combined savings and pension plans.’
      • ‘I am in the firm's defined contribution pension plan and contribute the maximum for my age.’
      • ‘Today you are far more likely to have your own personal pension plan or ‘money purchase’ scheme at work.’
      • ‘We have a declining birth rate and increased life expectancy, along with a marked reluctance to pay into a private pension plan.’
      • ‘Money purchase or defined contribution plans shift the risk of providing for old age on to the employees.’
      • ‘Of course, some labs are chosen simply because of health insurance plan mandates.’
      • ‘An easy payment plan is available for those wishing to pay to monthly installments.’
      • ‘Have you got into the habit of making regular contributions to savings or investment plans for your children?’
      • ‘In dollar terms, the change in contribution pension plan investment is staggering.’
      • ‘I suggest you start contributing to a stakeholder pension plan alongside your firm's scheme.’
      • ‘The scheme, the first dental insurance plan on the Irish market, was launched at the end of May.’
      • ‘For many years, I have been contributing to a pension plan which is mainly invested in shares.’
      • ‘He plans to gut social security and turn it from old age insurance to a pension plan.’
      • ‘People do not have to be taxpayers in order to have payments into a pension plan boosted by tax relief from the Inland Revenue.’
      • ‘Regular payment plans are available allowing you to pay weekly, fortnightly or monthly.’
      • ‘Tax-efficient equity savings schemes and plans for private pension funds will soon become the norm for many countries.’
      • ‘Some universities use a private pension plan, so your contribution may vary.’
      • ‘Chinese companies do not have to pay for health insurance or fund pension plans.’
      • ‘Grace is a teacher and has contributed to a pension plan since the year before the marriage.’
      • ‘They refuse to implement a pension plan or even pay the full cost of our health insurance.’
  • 2An intention or decision about what one is going to do.

    ‘I have no plans to retire’
    • ‘He never took advice well, believing his own plans and decisions to be superior to any other.’
    • ‘He told him he had no plans to appeal the decision.’
    • ‘Although this expat will celebrate his 60th birthday this year, he has no plans to retire any time soon.’
    • ‘Each girl will be formally interviewed by four judges about their interests and future plans before a decision is made.’
    • ‘But shortly after conceding defeat, a disheartened Landry announced plans to retire from politics.’
    • ‘At Dorcan School, the headteacher announced his plans to retire at the end of the summer term.’
    • ‘I see that Thabo will soon come to a decision on what his plans for the embattled Zuma are.’
    • ‘Elderly residents at two closure-threatened care homes are to get their say in the plans before any final decisions are made.’
    • ‘By tradition, we want to start the year by sharing with you our plans and intentions for the future.’
    • ‘He said that there were no plans, intentions, desires, or need for any increases greater than inflation.’
    • ‘He said the three countries have no plans to make any decision on their nuclear arms program.’
    • ‘She has no plans to retire and dismisses the idea that writers have conventional careers.’
    • ‘He also liked to change his plans or decisions without letting me know and then, if something happened, put all the blame for the situation on me.’
    • ‘It is understood that RTE has no plans to challenge the decision or to support any legal challenge by staff.’
    • ‘The mayor said that no plans or final decision had yet been 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.’
    • ‘As version upgrades can easily take 12 months, customers will soon have to make a decision about their future plans.’
    • ‘She tends to live in the present, without any plans, ambitions or goals.’
    • ‘He said he had no idea what he would be working on next but denied he had any plans to retire, despite the fact he is not a huge fan of being in front of the camera.’
    • ‘Although he has no plans to retire in the immediate future, he is looking forward to running the place in due course.’
    intention, aim, idea, intent, objective, object, goal, target, hope, aspiration, ambition
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  • 3A detailed map or diagram.

    ‘a street plan’
    • ‘The yellow colouring on the enclosed plan indicated the area from Furnham Road to AA.’
    • ‘Oxford residents have expressed their anger at development plans on St Giles Street and at Keble College.’
    • ‘The underlying street plans of towns like Otley were laid down centuries before motor vehicles were invented.’
    • ‘Vestiges of a street plan can sometimes be seen on ploughed land north-east of the amphitheatre.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘All of his six or so novels have a map as frontispiece from which one can see that much of the street plan has survived.’
    • ‘The basic L-shaped plan wraps around a patio courtyard in the internal corner of the site.’
    • ‘Over 170 Hilperton residents went to an open day in the village last month to look at plans proposed by the developer.’
    • ‘I am especially grateful to my daughter for her assistance in preparing the maps and plans.’
    • ‘The plan also includes building stops along the way in hopes of expanding in the future.’
    • ‘In this plan, two pagodas were built in front of one Main Hall in the main courtyard.’
    1. 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
      • ‘While drawing up plans for city centre buildings, he often helped children with their school design projects.’
      • ‘He is scheduled to release a detailed blueprint of his plans by mid-September.’
      • ‘Kenneth handed him the plans and explained the layout and security he'd found.’
      • ‘Lancaster City Council has deemed the plans for the proposed multi-million pound structure invalid.’
      • ‘An itemized asset list is created and geographically located on building plans.’
      • ‘As far as I knew, the original building plans had disappeared a long time ago.’
      • ‘With a key plan, the floor surface profile along those lines becomes useful information.’
      • ‘Since work of this type is governed by local codes, check your plans with the building department.’
      • ‘At that time, the municipality already approved the plans for the first building.’
      • ‘As per law, it is either the BMRDA or the BDA which have powers to approve the layouts and building plans.’
      • ‘Members of the public will be able to track their building plans on the Internet from February 2004.’
      • ‘Oral and written instructions are supplemented by plans, drawings or blueprints.’
      • ‘It is a walk-in information Office to allow viewing of the plans for the proposed tourism resort.’
      • ‘One of the papers just published a plan of the layout of the house.’
      • ‘Before them lay a ladder down into a musty basement that was obviously not listed on the building plans.’
      • ‘Reading the plans of the building again, she made sure she knew every way out of the building.’
      • ‘Very few building plans are at a scale where internal arrangement can be properly read.’
      • ‘Interestingly the original plans show the buildings supported and made level by brick piles grounded in the sloping valley side.’
      • ‘In 1962, the local authority had approved building plans under local by-laws.’
      • ‘It is also difficult to predict, given the limited quantity and quality of data on building plans.’
      blueprint, drawing, scale drawing, diagram, sketch, chart, map, layout, artist's impression
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    2. 3.2A diagram showing how something will be arranged.
      ‘look at the seating plan’
      • ‘The seating plan was drawn up using French, the traditional language of diplomacy.’
      • ‘A good friend told me that his friend, who's a school teacher, drew up a seating plan last week for her pre-teen pupils.’
      • ‘Even the seating plan, though, underlines one important reason for voter apathy.’
      • ‘Householders are also being advised to prepare an escape plan from home and smokers are being warned to take special care.’
      • ‘Now, if there was a prize that allowed you to set the seating plan: that would be a prize worth winning.’
      • ‘You can, in fact, check seating plans through airline websites - if you know how to find them.’
      • ‘I see she has the seating plan for the crematorium in her hand.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘The seating plan for a national event is a good time to find out who's hot and who's not.’
      • ‘Directors instantly knew where they were in the pecking order by a quick look at the seating plan.’
      • ‘In addition to the price increases, Churchill Downs has changed seating plans on Oaks day.’
      • ‘All residents are urged to review their family flood plans and update their knowledge about flooding.’
      preparations, plans
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    3. 3.3(in the Methodist Church) a document listing the preachers for all the services in a circuit during a given period.
      • ‘This page shows the preaching plan for our church for the forthcoming months.’


  • 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’
    • ‘Even so, the family plans to appeal the decision so it can continue living in six caravans on the site, which it bought more than a year ago.’
    • ‘Kate plans to arrange monthly meetings with speakers and general support sessions.’
    • ‘The town council plans to make a decision by the end of the year.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘A tenants and residents organisation plans to create new jobs and other opportunities.’
    • ‘There is a system of communication to enable partners to plan their play and decide when it is appropriate to bet.’
    • ‘We therefore plan to check this possibility by putting an acetyl group on the N-terminus.’
    • ‘The program plans to offer doctoral degree education within the next two to three years.’
    • ‘There is a DJ booth and the manager plans to change the layout on the first floor to make space for a small dance floor.’
    • ‘Intel plans to start building again next year, and to start operations in the third quarter of 2003.’
    • ‘This is fantastic news if you plan on making a trip to the US this year.’
    • ‘The trick is to plan each one in advance and do something original.’
    • ‘He is now refurbishing the ground floor of the building and plans to open a late night bar and dance floor from Thursday to Saturday.’
    • ‘The key to a successful warehouse shopping experience is to plan your visit in advance.’
    • ‘Now he and his wife Laura are moving to a larger house nearby, and plan to start a programme of improvements as soon as they sell their current home.’
    • ‘All too often this leads them to neglect the very important issue of planning their development in advance.’
    • ‘Before you plan a trip, decide whether you'd rather try a wilderness lodge or a guest ranch.’
    • ‘After switch-over, the government plans to sell the spectrum previously used for analogue.’
    • ‘Additionally, it is unclear how the company plans to finance the building of that site.’
    • ‘The organisation plans to publish research on state childcare models in May.’
    intend, make plans, aim, propose, mean, be resolved, have in mind, hope, want, wish, desire, contemplate, envisage, foresee, envision, expect
    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
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  • 2Design or make a plan of (something to be made or built)

    ‘she had planned the garden from scratch’
    • ‘Mary is a professional landscape designer and her talk will be on interest to anyone planning a new garden or rejuvenating an old one.’
    • ‘Introductory chapters include tips on planning a garden and how to create and care for the garden.’
    • ‘Color and time of bloom are two of the most important elements to consider when planning your bulb and garden planting.’
    • ‘This view has invariably seduced architects when imaging and planning utopian cities.’
    • ‘Plan seed purchases for the fall garden when you are planning your spring garden.’
    • ‘When planning your garden, it is important to know what your climate zone is and choose your plants accordingly.’
    • ‘We're planning a memorial garden for archives and ashes for our friends and ourselves.’
    • ‘A range of colours will be made known to the various groups involved when planning their designs.’
    • ‘You will not only plan a design scheme but you will also put it into practice.’
    • ‘He was continuing to plan his garden during his final illness.’
    • ‘Shortly after his arrival, he took over the project to design and plan the new Shenzhen University.’
    • ‘It is not necessary to have only indigenous plants when planning a xeriscape design.’
    • ‘I'm planning a couple of design changes to this blog, and rounded corners may well make an appearance in the new version.’
    • ‘He was a gardener of note and relished planning the gardens of his acquaintances.’
    • ‘This information should be considered when you plan your garden and when you buy the plants.’
    • ‘We walked for miles here, thinking very thoroughly, talking, taking hundreds of photographs, planning the design.’
    • ‘All you really need to learn about planning your garden is written on the package, or available from your bulb supplier.’
    • ‘As you plan your water garden, consider the aquatic plants you may want to include in it.’
    • ‘Start by planning the garden based on where you'll be happiest sitting.’
    • ‘The town has attracted high-tech businesses and is planning a technology zone for downtown.’
    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
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  • 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’
      • ‘But his best plan would be to go to a team down and out at the quarterback position - Chicago, Cincinatti and Carolina come to mind - and make his own mark where the expectations are far less.’
      • ‘But your best plan of action is to exercise self-control and do nothing.’
      • ‘It was sunny, it was mild, and there was a delicious refreshing breeze just about all day, so it seemed our best plan would be to stay home and enjoy it.’
      • ‘After all, your time and resources are limited, so spending them wisely, even at the cost of other areas, is going to be your best plan.’
      • ‘The Pakistan board wanted faster pitches for them but their best plan now would be to prepare turners.’
      • ‘If you're nearing retirement, you may be thinking that your best plan is to take up smoking, heavy drinking and motorcycle stunts.’
      • ‘Probably their best plan, however, is to ignore him and hope that no one will notice what he says.’
      • ‘I will leave you now to start to think on this and your best plan of action.’
      • ‘I encourage you to explore all your options and talk to several different kinds of professionals to decide your best plan of action.’
      • ‘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’
      • ‘But the married father-of-three, who has 22 years' experience, is confident that arrangements will go according to plan.’
      • ‘The first combination that set off brought down the telephone wires in Steeple Ashton but after that there was more room and it all went according to plan.’
      • ‘For the next few years things went according to plan, and then in the year 1854, passengers on the ship Blanche were found to be suffering from cholera.’
      • ‘Everything had been planned for and everything went according to plan.’
      • ‘Security officials say everything went according to plan.’
      • ‘The president and her family were on hand all day to make sure that everything went according to plan - even going as far as bringing umbrellas to some golfers who didn't like the rain!’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘An East Lancashire economic leader today said that, if things went according to plan, work on the site could start within 15 months and the course could be complete in 2008.’
      • ‘‘After all these delays I was so pleased that I never worried, and everything went according to plan,’ he said.’
      • ‘This festive season, Sofia will be bathed in light if the decoration arrangements of the Sofia municipality go according to plan.’
  • make a plan

    • Devise a way of overcoming difficulties.

      ‘leave it to me—I'll make a plan’
      • ‘A school governing body member appealed to the government to make a plan for the school as they had being asking for a new school for five years.’
      • ‘The organisers should make a plan for more people to access this play.’
      • ‘They waited there about an hour before the police chief finally suggested they make a plan and pay R200, which they very reluctantly did.’
      • ‘I even dreamed of some very forward thinking individual making a plan to reintroduce large carnivores to the eastern section of the park.’
      • ‘Just making a plan to overcome a problem often helps.’
  • plan of action (or campaign or attack)

    • An organized programme of measures to be taken in order to achieve a goal.

      • ‘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.’
      • ‘He said that every company, regardless of what area it is in, should formulate a plan of action to deal with a crisis.’
      • ‘I am going to do some serious rethinking about my plan of attack regarding my diet and exercise program.’
      • ‘We bring in a project manager with the expertise to assess the situation, formulate a plan of action, and get the project completed.’
      • ‘They have a common strategic aim but have no plan of action on the tactical level.’
      • ‘The document, however, failed to detail any environmental goals or plan of attack.’
      • ‘We are going to meet today to decide a plan of action but we will organise a date for a public meeting at the end of August.’
      • ‘We spoke further and I think I helped to get him to think more positively about himself, and I helped him to formulate some basic plans of action that he needs to pursue in order to get his life back on track.’
      • ‘Once you find a likely partner, formulate a plan of attack that includes long- and short-term goals you'd both like to accomplish in the gym.’
      • ‘These five goals were discussed to determine a plan of action to achieve them.’
      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
      View synonyms
  • 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!’
      • ‘"We can go shopping or something after school." "Sounds like a plan!"’
      • ‘Make sure you invite me when you get back! That sounds like a plan to me, Ed.’
      • ‘We'll set the tape at the exact moment and no one will be the wiser. Yeah, that sounds like a plan.’
      • ‘"We will stop by afterwards, if we're not feeling too exhausted." "That sounds like a plan."’
      • ‘I'm thinking maybe I should force myself to stay up all day and sleep tonight. Sounds like a plan huh?’
      • ‘Breakfast and a book 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.