1. a scheme or method of acting, doing, proceeding, making, etc., developed in advance: battle plans.
  2. a design or scheme of arrangement: an elaborate plan for seating guests.
  3. a specific project or definite purpose: plans for the future.
  4. Also called plan view. a drawing made to scale to represent the top view or a horizontal section of a structure or a machine, as a floor layout of a building.
  5. a representation of a thing drawn on a plane, as a map or diagram: a plan of the dock area.
  6. (in perspective drawing) one of several planes in front of a represented object, and perpendicular to the line between the object and the eye.
  7. a formal program for specified benefits, needs, etc.: a pension plan.

verb (used with object), planned, plan·ning.

  1. to arrange a method or scheme beforehand for (any work, enterprise, or proceeding): to plan a new recreation center.
  2. to make plans for: to plan one’s vacation.
  3. to draw or make a diagram or layout of, as a building.

verb (used without object), planned, plan·ning.

  1. to make plans: to plan ahead; to plan for one’s retirement.


  1. not plannedan unplanned baby


  1. a detailed scheme, method, etc, for attaining an objective
  2. (sometimes plural) a proposed, usually tentative idea for doing something
  3. a drawing to scale of a horizontal section through a building taken at a given level; a view from above an object or an area in orthographic projectionCompare ground plan (def. 1), elevation (def. 5)
  4. an outline, sketch, etc
  5. (in perspective drawing) any of several imaginary planes perpendicular to the line of vision and between the eye and object depicted

verb plans, planning or planned

  1. to form a plan (for) or make plans (for)
  2. (tr) to make a plan of (a building)
  3. (tr; takes a clause as object or an infinitive) to have in mind as a purpose; intend

adj.by 1804, from un- (1) “not” + past participle of plan. n.1670s as a technical term in perspective drawing; 1706 as “drawing, sketch, or diagram of any object,” from French plan “ground plan, map,” literally “plane surface” (mid-16c.), from Latin planum “level or flat surface,” noun use of adjective planus “level, flat” (see plane (n.1)). The notion is of “a drawing on a flat surface.” Meaning “scheme of action, design” is first recorded 1706, possibly influenced by French planter “to plant,” from Italian planta “ground plan.” v.1728, “make a plan of,” from plan (n.). Related: Planned; planning; plans. Planned economy is attested from 1931. Planned Parenthood (1942) formerly was Birth Control Federation of America. In addition to the idiom beginning with plan

  • plan on
  • also see:

  • best-laid plans
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