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
One of the General Assembly’s largest undertakings during the 90-day legislative session in Annapolis, the cannabis plan was set in motion earlier this month when lawmakers drafted the lengthy proposal to regulate and tax the new industry. Sam Janesch, Baltimore Sun, 17 Feb. 2023 The plan brought harsh critics who then pushed for data transparency rather than limiting data collection. Alexandra Sternlicht, Fortune, 17 Feb. 2023 Under the plan, groups of five or more American citizens or permanent residents can apply to privately sponsor the resettlement of refugees. Geraldo Cadava, The New Yorker, 17 Feb. 2023 The unlimited plan ranges from $250 to $525 depending on the length of the cruise. Nathan Diller, USA TODAY, 17 Feb. 2023 The plan can be viewed online at: Brian L. Cox, Chicago Tribune, 17 Feb. 2023 By the time today’s kindergartners are high school seniors, the plan was supposed to increase statewide education spending by 45 percent, or $3.9 billion. Erin Cox, Washington Post, 16 Feb. 2023 The plan will be overseen by the global auditing giant PwC and would compensate investors for potential financial losses if businesses were expropriated or projects were disrupted. Liz Alderman, New York Times, 16 Feb. 2023 Most supported the Arizona plan and opposed further federal involvement, including comments received from the Arizona Public Service Co. utility, Associated Specialty Contractors of Arizona and the North Phoenix Chamber of Commerce. Russ Wiles, The Arizona Republic, 16 Feb. 2023
Here's how the new company leaders plan to turn things around for 2023. Ricardo Torres, Journal Sentinel, 2 Mar. 2023 The solid data twice a month can help SRP plan its operations. Brandon Loomis, The Arizona Republic, 1 Mar. 2023 Meanwhile, Hoffman, the committee chair, is leading a group of conservatives who plan to sue Hobbs for issuing an executive order guaranteeing equal employment opportunities for LGBTQ people working at state agencies. Eli Hager, ProPublica, 1 Mar. 2023 Larger trays are often ideal for gardeners who plan to start a lot of seeds in a multi-level seed starting station with grow lights, like the Delxo Seed Starter Tray. Renee Freemon Mulvihill, Better Homes & Gardens, 1 Mar. 2023 Its 2023 schedule is listed online for travelers who want to plan ahead. Rae Johnson, The Courier-Journal, 1 Mar. 2023 Couldn’t have possibly had more than a month to plan, think, design & execute. Marco Quiroz-gutierrez, Fortune Crypto, 28 Feb. 2023 Sam and her fiancé return to her family's beach house to plan their wedding. Katie Bowlby, Country Living, 28 Feb. 2023 As such, travelers coming from sea level might want to plan for an extra acclimatization day at the start of their trip, and factor in additional hiking time on trails with notable elevation gain. Emily Pennington, Condé Nast Traveler, 28 Feb. 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 24 Mar. 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

More from Merriam-Webster on plan

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