\ ˈplan \

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 on plans 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 \ adjective
planlessly adverb
planlessness noun


planner 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


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.

Examples of plan in a Sentence


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.


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

Even if a tenant agrees to a payment plan and follows it, the original eviction lawsuit almost always remains on the tenant's public record. Kevin Crowe, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "'He'll evict you in a minute.' Landlord quietly becomes a force in Milwaukee rental business...and eviction court," 13 July 2018 This summer and next, the building’s stewards will undertake an unusually hefty $4 million in upgrades and repairs, with even more ambitious work to come later, thanks to a new plan approved by the Academy board this week. Peter Dobrin,, "Academy of Music is replacing its lumpy old seats - and, no, you're not getting cup holders," 12 July 2018 Now, with this new bundle, access to Tidal is built in to Sprint’s plan. Dan Rys, Billboard, "Sprint Introducing New 'Unlimited Plus' Plans With Tidal Music Streaming Subscription Bundle," 12 July 2018 Sparks received a modest $5,000 pay raise from his previous yearly salary while Williams received a $7,000 signing bonus and admission to a corporate profit-sharing plan, prosecutors said. Matthew Ormseth,, "Former Employee Of Groton Defense Contractor Requests New Trial After Conviction For Stealing Navy Secrets," 12 July 2018 Last month, Chinese hackers gained access to U.S. submarine warfare plans after gaining access to a U.S. Navy contractor’s computer. Hallie Detrick, Fortune, "How an Amateur Hacker Stole Top-Secret Drone Documents From the U.S. Air Force," 11 July 2018 If all goes according to plan with the firing, ESA will continue to test the motor as the agency works toward getting its next two rockets ready for flight. Loren Grush, The Verge, "Europe will fire its record-setting big solid rocket motor this week," 11 July 2018 If all goes according to plan, the pizzeria’s next expansion will be inside the city limits. Justin Phillips,, "Pizzeria Delfina plots SoMa outpost," 10 July 2018 The hikes would be larger without Durkan’s cuts to the six-year plan. Daniel Beekman, The Seattle Times, "‘Alarm bell’ over City Light spending as Seattle council considers rate increases," 9 July 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

Earlier this year the Pentagon told AFRICOM to plan for a possible 50% cut in the number of special forces in Africa over three years. The Economist, "The fight against Islamic State is moving to Africa," 14 July 2018 Here’s a look at what Waste Management officials have begun planning for the 500-acre swath near Coconut Creek. Anne Geggis,, "Mount Trashmore, the landfill that's over 20 stories, will grow bigger and taller," 13 July 2018 Special needs swimming Special needs night, a quiet time after regular operating hours, is planned for 6:30 to 8 p.m. Sunday, July 15, at the Centennial Beach, 500 Jackson Ave. Michelle Mullins, Naperville Sun, "This Week in Naperville," 13 July 2018 Part of Edgewater, plans for the farm’s development were originally conceived in 2014 but fell through; CalAtlantic Homes picked it up. Michelle L. Quinn, Post-Tribune, "Traffic concerns put up new roadblock for planned 212-lot Crown Point subdivision," 13 July 2018 For all the details on Ashley Iaconetti and Jared Haibon’s plans for the future, pick up the latest issue of PEOPLE, on newsstands Friday. Melody Chiu,, "Ashley Iaconetti and Jared Haibon Say 'Sensuality' Came Naturally in Their Relationship," 12 July 2018 Among his achievements were a master plan for the Inner Harbor of Baltimore, plans for Liberty Place in Center City, and renovation plans for mansions in Society Hill and on Rittenhouse Square. Bonnie L. Cook,, "Thomas A. Todd, 90, Philly architect and painter," 12 July 2018 The IceCube collaboration has proposed an upgrade that stands to improve sensitivity by an order of magnitude, and similar instruments are planned for deployment in the Mediterranean Sea and Lake Baikal, Siberia. Mark Bowen, Scientific American, "Neutrinos on Ice: Astronomers' Long Hunt for Source of Extragalactic "Ghost Particles" Pays Off," 12 July 2018 On Friday, the White House said President Donald Trump will lift his administration’s plans for a possible crackdown on states that have legalized marijuana after talks with a Colorado senator. Kathleen Gray, Detroit Free Press, "Michigan awards first medical marijuana licenses," 12 July 2018

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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Dictionary Entries near plan

plaited stitch







Statistics for plan

Last Updated

9 Sep 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for plan

The first known use of plan was in 1718

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More Definitions for plan



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 \

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?



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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Comments on plan

What made you want to look up plan? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


the setting in which something occurs

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