- a plan, design, or program of action to be followed; project.
- an underhand plot; intrigue.
- a visionary or impractical project.
- a body or system of related doctrines, theories, etc.: a scheme of philosophy.
- any system of correlated things, parts, etc., or the manner of its arrangement.
- a plan, program, or policy officially adopted and followed, as by a government or business: The company’s pension scheme is very successful.
- an analytical or tabular statement.
- a diagram, map, or the like.
- an astrological diagram of the heavens.
verb (used with object), schemed, schem·ing.
- to devise as a scheme; plan; plot; contrive.
verb (used without object), schemed, schem·ing.
- to lay schemes; devise plans; plot.
- a systematic plan for a course of action
- a systematic arrangement of correlated parts; system
- a secret plot
- a visionary or unrealizable project
- a chart, diagram, or outline
- an astrological diagram giving the aspects of celestial bodies at a particular time
- mainly British a plan formally adopted by a commercial enterprise or governmental body, as for pensions, etc
- mainly Scot an area of housing that is laid out esp by a local authority; estate
- (tr) to devise a system for
- to form intrigues (for) in an underhand manner
n.1550s, “figure of speech,” from Medieval Latin schema “shape, figure, form, appearance; figure of speech; posture in dancing,” from Greek skhema (genitive skhematos) “figure, appearance, the nature of a thing,” related to skhein “to get,” and ekhein “to have,” from PIE root *segh- “to hold, to hold in one’s power, to have” (cf. Sanskrit sahate “he masters, overcomes,” sahah “power, victory;” Avestan hazah “power, victory;” Greek ekhein “to have, hold;” Gothic sigis, Old High German sigu, Old Norse sigr, Old English sige “victory”). The sense “program of action” first is attested 1640s. Unfavorable overtones (selfish, devious) began to creep in early 18c. Meaning “complex unity of coordinated component elements” is from 1736. Color scheme is attested from 1884. v.“devise a scheme,” 1767 (earlier “reduce to a scheme,” 1716), from scheme (n.). Related: Schemed; scheming. see best-laid plans (schemes).