have designs on somebody/something
have designs on someone or something
Fig. to have plans to exploit or somehow take advantage of someone or something. Mrs. Brown has designs on my apple tree. I think she's going to cut off the part that hangs over her fence. Mary has designs on Bill. I think she'll try to date him.
have designs on
Contrive a secret plot or scheme, especially with selfish motives. For example, I think he has designs on my job, or Mary has designs on her sister's boyfriend. This term uses design in the sense of "a crafty plan," a usage dating from about 1700.
have designs on something
If someone has designs on something, they want it and are planning to get it. The team has designs on a place in the Football League, and have a new stand rising at their Kingfield ground. Most observers believe that he has his own designs on power.
have designs onaim to obtain something desired, especially in an underhand way.
2003 Economist Hardliners…think America has designs on its oil, and will act against Iran once it has disposed of Saddam Hussein.