1 of 3


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


2 of 3


planned; planning

transitive verb

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

intransitive verb

: to make plans
plan ahead
: to have a specified intention
used with on
plans on going


3 of 3

combining form

variants or plano-
: flat
: flat and
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

Example Sentences

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. See More
Recent Examples on the Web
The plan—which is far from ironed out in detail—involves energy generators committing to producing extra power during periods of extreme heat or cold, when demand for energy goes up. Michael Murney, Chron, 21 Jan. 2023 Thomas decided to drive her daughter over to the house and asked if the parents could make a safety plan together for the next time her daughter rode with her friend. Madeline Holcombe, CNN, 20 Jan. 2023 The government says the plan, set to be announced next month, will provide more flexibility in the labour market. Fox News, 20 Jan. 2023 Both teams are struggling with game-planning — specifically, how much of the Week 17 plan to use and how much to scrap. Ben Volin,, 19 Jan. 2023 The three plan to keep their Type 48 liquor license, which is one that permits them to sell a full liquor lineup without food. Esther Tseng, Los Angeles Times, 19 Jan. 2023 French President Emmanuel Macron says his reform plan, in a country where everyone receives a government pension, is necessary to keep the system from going broke. Harold Maass, The Week, 19 Jan. 2023 According to the lawsuit, López Prater’s plan to show sacred images — and her guidance to religiously observant students seeking exemptions — were approved by her supervisor. Maham Javaid, Washington Post, 19 Jan. 2023 Dog Nanny plan and offers many of the same AI smart alerts, video clips, and three days of video history. Haley Sprankle Gear Team, WIRED, 19 Jan. 2023
The authorities plan to do that, in part, by increasing year-over-year numbers of tourists and tourist revenues by 20% and 25% respectively. Kevin Rozario, Forbes, 22 Jan. 2023 The entire process of making the sauce only takes about 5 minutes, so plan to stick around the whole time. Robin Miller, USA TODAY, 22 Jan. 2023 The buyers plan to build a 7 Brew Coffee shop on the site. Kathy Jumper, al, 22 Jan. 2023 The kids plan to take the stage next week at another Lunar New Year celebration and again next month at Disneyland. Helen Lipodcast Producer, Los Angeles Times, 22 Jan. 2023 All three board members plan to step down as the organization shuts down. J. Kim Murphy, Variety, 21 Jan. 2023 The developers plan three labs, spanning 700,000 square feet, and an 85-unit residential building, which will set aside 20 percent of units at affordable rates. Catherine Carlock,, 20 Jan. 2023 The entire process of making the sauce only takes about 5 minutes, so plan to stick around the whole time. Robin Miller, The Arizona Republic, 20 Jan. 2023 Prosecutors plan to charge the actor in the fatal shooting of a cinematographer on the movie's set in New Mexico in 2021. Wsj Staff, WSJ, 20 Jan. 2023 See More

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.

Word History



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

First Known Use


1735, in the meaning defined at sense 2c


1718, in the meaning defined at transitive sense 2

Time Traveler
The first known use of plan was in 1718

Dictionary Entries Near plan

Cite this Entry

“Plan.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 2 Feb. 2023.

Kids Definition


1 of 2 noun
: a drawing or diagram showing the parts or outline of something
: a method or scheme of acting, doing, or arranging
a civil defense plan
vacation plans
: goal sense 2, aim
our plan was to stop them at the bridge
planless adjective


2 of 2 verb
planned; planning
: to form a plan of or for : to arrange the parts or details of ahead of time
plan a church
plan a party
: to have in mind : intend
: to make plans
planner noun

Legal Definition


: a diagram of an area of land (as a subdivision) filed in the registry of deeds see also plot plan
: 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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