• Plan


    • IPA: /plæn/
    • GenAm IPA: plɛən
    • Rhymes: -æn


    From French plan ("a ground-plot of a building"), from plan ("flat"), a later form of the vernacular plain, from Latin planus ("flat, plane"); see plain, plane.

    Full definition of plan



    (plural plans)
    1. A drawing showing technical details of a building, machine, etc., with unwanted details omitted, and often using symbols rather than detailed drawing to represent doors, valves, etc.The plans for many important buildings were once publicly available.
    2. A set of intended actions, usually mutually related, through which one expects to achieve a goal.He didn't really have a plan; he had a goal and a habit of control.
    3. A two-dimensional drawing of a building as seen from above with obscuring or irrelevant details such as roof removed, or of a floor of a building, revealing the internal layout; as distinct from the elevation.Seen in plan, the building had numerous passageways not apparent to visitors.
    4. A method; a way of procedure; a custom.
      • WordsworthThe simple plan,
        That they should take who have the power,
        And they should keep who can.

    Usage notes

    A plan ("set of intended actions") can be developed, executed, implemented, ignored, abandoned, scrapped, changed, etc.


    Related terms

    • (2-dimensional drawing of a building) blueprint


    1. (transitive) To design (a building, machine, etc.).
      The architect planned the building for the client.
    2. (transitive) To create a plan for.
      They jointly planned the project in phases, with good detail for the first month.
    3. (intransitive) To intend.
      • 2013-08-10, Can China clean up fast enough?, It has jailed environmental activists and is planning to limit the power of judicial oversight by handing a state-approved body a monopoly over bringing environmental lawsuits.
    4. He planned to go, but work intervened.
    5. See plan on.
      I was planning on going, but something came up.
    6. (intransitive) To make a plan.
      They planned for the worst, bringing lots of emergency supplies.

    Usage notes

    This is a catenative verb that takes the to infinitive. See

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