1. scheming; intriguing; artful; crafty.
  2. showing or using forethought.


  1. the act or art of making designs.

verb (used with object)

  1. to prepare the preliminary sketch or the plans for (a work to be executed), especially to plan the form and structure of: to design a new bridge.
  2. to plan and fashion artistically or skillfully.
  3. to intend for a definite purpose: a scholarship designed for foreign students.
  4. to form or conceive in the mind; contrive; plan: The prisoner designed an intricate escape.
  5. to assign in thought or intention; purpose: He designed to be a doctor.
  6. Obsolete. to mark out, as by a sign; indicate.

verb (used without object)

  1. to make drawings, preliminary sketches, or plans.
  2. to plan and fashion the form and structure of an object, work of art, decorative scheme, etc.


  1. an outline, sketch, or plan, as of the form and structure of a work of art, an edifice, or a machine to be executed or constructed.
  2. organization or structure of formal elements in a work of art; composition.
  3. the combination of details or features of a picture, building, etc.; the pattern or motif of artistic work: the design on a bracelet.
  4. the art of designing: a school of design.
  5. a plan or project: a design for a new process.
  6. a plot or intrigue, especially an underhand, deceitful, or treacherous one: His political rivals formulated a design to unseat him.
  7. designs, a hostile or aggressive project or scheme having evil or selfish motives: He had designs on his partner’s stock.
  8. intention; purpose; end.
  9. adaptation of means to a preconceived end.


  1. artful and scheming; conniving; crafty


  1. to work out the structure or form of (something), as by making a sketch, outline, pattern, or plans
  2. to plan and make (something) artistically or skilfully
  3. (tr) to form or conceive in the mind; invent
  4. (tr) to intend, as for a specific purpose; plan
  5. (tr) obsolete to mark out or designate


  1. a plan, sketch, or preliminary drawing
  2. the arrangement or pattern of elements or features of an artistic or decorative workthe design of the desk is Chippendale
  3. a finished artistic or decorative creation
  4. the art of designing
  5. a plan, scheme, or project
  6. an end aimed at or planned for; intention; purpose
  7. (often plural; often foll by on or against) a plot or hostile scheme, often to gain possession of (something) by illegitimate means
  8. a coherent or purposeful pattern, as opposed to chaosGod’s design appears in nature
  9. argument from design philosophy another name for teleological argument

“scheming,” 1670s, present participle adjective from design (v.).


1580s, from Middle French desseign “purpose, project, design,” from Italian disegno, from disegnare “to mark out,” from Latin designare “to mark out” (see design (v.)).


1540s, from Latin designare “mark out, devise, choose, designate, appoint,” from de- “out” (see de-) + signare “to mark,” from signum “a mark, sign” (see sign (n.)). Originally in English with the meaning now attached to designate; many modern uses of design are metaphoric extensions. Related: Designed; designing.

see by design; have designs on.

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