\ ˈplan How to pronounce plan (audio) \

Definition of plan

 (Entry 1 of 3)

1 : a drawing or diagram drawn on a plane: such as
a : a top or horizontal view of an object
b : a large-scale map of a small area
2a : a method for achieving an end
b : an often customary method of doing something : procedure
c : a detailed formulation of a program of action
d : goal, aim
3 : an orderly arrangement of parts of an overall design or objective
4 : a detailed program (as for payment or the provision of some service) pension plan


planned; planning

Definition of plan (Entry 2 of 3)

transitive verb

1 : to arrange the parts of : design plan a new layout
2 : to devise or project the realization or achievement of planned their escape
3 : to have in mind : intend plans to leave soon

intransitive verb

1 : to make plans plan ahead
2 : to have a specified intention used with onplans on going
variants: or plano-

Definition of plan- (Entry 3 of 3)

1 : flat planography
2 : flat and plano-concave

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Other Words from plan


planless \ ˈplan-​ləs How to pronounce planless (audio) \ adjective
planlessly adverb
planlessness noun

Choose the Right Synonym for plan


plan, design, plot, scheme, project mean a method devised for making or doing something or achieving an end. plan always implies mental formulation and sometimes graphic representation. plans for a house design often suggests a particular pattern and some degree of achieved order or harmony. a design for a new dress plot implies a laying out in clearly distinguished sections with attention to their relations and proportions. the plot of the play scheme stresses calculation of the end in view and may apply to a plan motivated by craftiness and self-interest. a scheme to defraud the government project often stresses imaginative scope and vision. a project to develop the waterfront

Examples of plan in a Sentence

Noun the army's plan of attack We need to agree on a plan of action. Our plan was to have the guests park on the street, not the lawn. When we met them at the restaurant, they said there had been a change of plan. He changed his long-distance plan. Verb We are busy planning the party. The prisoners spent months planning their escape. a teacher planning her next lesson The students are planning a protest. We have something very special planned for your birthday. Their wedding is planned for June. a planned series of books about cars Things don't always go as planned. Always remember to plan ahead.
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Recent Examples on the Web: Noun Should all go according to plan, Brussels aims to implement the final version of these regulations within the next couple of years. Ian Bremmer, Time, "What Happens Next with Europe’s New Regulation of Big Tech," 22 Feb. 2020 Stanley sought a raise for sheriffs deputies by proposing an amendment to Virginia’s two-year spending plan, which did not provide for a raise. Laura Vozzella, Washington Post, "Top Virginia Democrat blames gun-sanctuary resolutions for denial of raises," 21 Feb. 2020 If all goes according to plan, the spacecraft will land on the moon for several hours and take a 10 gram core sample from at least 2 cm below the surface, according to the agency's press statement. Jennifer Leman, Popular Mechanics, "JAXA Is Going To Land on Phobos, the 14th Best Moon in the Solar System," 21 Feb. 2020 Redstone Arsenal responded today to a Pentagon plan to cut access to Fox Army Health Center on Redstone Arsenal saying nothing will change for months at the earliest. Lee Roop |, al, "Cuts to Redstone’s Fox Army Health Center face hurdles," 21 Feb. 2020 The plan doesn't go into effect until 2021, and already the new rules are dividing a hardly united United Kingdom. Adrian Croft, Fortune, "Britain is closing its borders to low-skilled labor. Why economists say this is a bad idea," 21 Feb. 2020 Atarot is also on the eastern side of Israel's separation barrier and appears to be envisioned as Palestinian land according to the Trump administration's plan. Oren Liebermann, CNN, "As election looms, Netanyahu announces new construction in East Jerusalem," 20 Feb. 2020 The plan is for Red to redshirt his first year of college, but after that? Gregg Doyel, Indianapolis Star, "Doyel: Decade-old doubt drives New Pal wrestler Chad Red," 20 Feb. 2020 Mayor De Blasio, who was running for President at the time, signed off on the plan without much discussion. William Finnegan, The New Yorker, "Andy Byford’s Last Day with New York’s Transit System," 20 Feb. 2020 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb The nonprofit ReBuilding Center, which diverts building materials from landfills and offers them for reuse, planned to donate the masks to help out. oregonlive, "Thousands of face masks intended for hospital workers stolen, Portland police say; some wound up on Craigslist," 23 Mar. 2020 President Trump, who is trying to portray himself a wartime leader, said that a federal agency planned to build medical stations in California, New York and Washington State, providing thousands of beds for patients. Mike Ives, New York Times, "Your Monday Briefing," 23 Mar. 2020 Occidental has slashed its planned spending by roughly a third and likely will limp along through low oil prices despite being highly leveraged. Cara Lombardo, WSJ, "Coronavirus and Oil-Price Plunge Buries Shale and Occidental’s Big Bet," 22 Mar. 2020 The safety plan can focus on how to stay safe in the relationship, how to plan to leave or what to do after leaving. Ashley Luthern, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "'Home isn't always a safe place for everyone': Domestic violence shelters, hotlines stay open during coronavirus outbreak," 22 Mar. 2020 The college's original plan was to take spring break as planned this week and then start online instruction. David Jesse, USA TODAY, "Small colleges were already on the brink. Now, coronavirus threatens their existence," 22 Mar. 2020 Harvey said, adding Georgia planned a major push to expand absentee voting for the May primary. Author: Christina A. Cassidy, Anchorage Daily News, "Election limbo as coronavirus outbreak upends US primaries," 22 Mar. 2020 The largest Arab crude producer outside OPEC plans to lower its debt and review state companies, Sultan Haitham bin Tariq Al Said said on Sunday in his first televised address. Farah Elbahrawy,, "Oman’s New Sultan Embarks on Long Road to Economic Recovery," 22 Mar. 2020 Some of our children and grandchildren — nine of us in all — planned to be there to celebrate. Dolores L. Christie, cleveland, "Shaker Heights grandmother mourns a family trip to Florence canceled by coronavirus," 22 Mar. 2020

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'plan.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of plan


1735, in the meaning defined at sense 2c


1718, in the meaning defined at transitive sense 2

History and Etymology for plan


French, plane, foundation, ground plan; partly from Latin planum level ground, from neuter of planus level; partly from French planter to plant, fix in place, from Late Latin plantare — more at floor, plant

Combining form

Latin planus

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Statistics for plan

Last Updated

25 Feb 2020

Cite this Entry

“Plan.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 1 Apr. 2020.

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More Definitions for plan


How to pronounce plan- (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of plan

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: a set of actions that have been thought of as a way to do or achieve something
: something that a person intends to do
: a detailed agreement for telephone service, medical care, insurance, etc.



English Language Learners Definition of plan (Entry 2 of 2)

: to think about and arrange the parts or details of (something) before it happens or is made
: to intend or expect to do (something)
: to expect something to happen


\ ˈplan How to pronounce plan (audio) \

Kids Definition of plan

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : a method or scheme of acting, doing, or arranging vacation plans They were nervous because … their plan was indeed a risky one.— Lemony Snicket, The Austere Academy
2 : a drawing or diagram showing the parts or outline of something


planned; planning

Kids Definition of plan (Entry 2 of 2)

1 : to form a diagram of or for : arrange the parts or details of ahead of time plan a bridge plan a picnic
2 : to have in mind : intend What are you planning to do with the leftovers?

Choose the Right Synonym for plan


plan, plot, and scheme mean a method of making or doing something or achieving an end. plan is used when some thinking was done beforehand often with something written down or pictured. The builder proposed a plan for a new school. plot is used for a complicated, carefully shaped plan of several parts. plot can be used of the plan of a story. It's a mystery story with a good plot. It can also be used of a secret, usually evil plan. The robbery plot was uncovered. scheme is used when there is a tricky plan often for evil reasons. The scheme to cheat people backfired.



Legal Definition of plan

1 : a diagram of an area of land (as a subdivision) filed in the registry of deeds — see also plot plan
2 : a detailed program especially : one made under chapter 13 of the Bankruptcy Code that places future earnings under the control of a trustee, provides for the payment of creditors, and is subject to approval by the creditors

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More from Merriam-Webster on plan

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for plan

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with plan

Spanish Central: Translation of plan

Nglish: Translation of plan for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of plan for Arabic Speakers

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