plan

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the best-laid plans

Said when something ends poorly or differently than expected, despite preparations for success. It is an abbreviated version of the full proverb "the best-laid plans of mice and men oft go astray." I always thought our marriage was stable and that we'd be together forever. I guess it's true what they say, though, the best-laid plans and all that. A: "I've been working on this project for six months, and now, right before it's due, they tell me they want something completely different." B: "That's rough. The best-laid plans, I suppose."
See also: plan

the best-laid plans go astray

Said when something ends poorly or differently than expected, despite preparations for success. It is an abbreviated version of the full proverb "the best-laid plans of mice and men oft go astray." I always thought our marriage was stable and that we'd be together forever. I guess it's true what they say, though, even the best-laid plans go astray. A: "I've been working on this project for six months, and now, right before it's due, they tell me they want something completely different." B: "That's rough. Even the best-laid plans go astray, I suppose."
See also: astray, plan

the best-laid plans of mice and men

Said when something ends poorly or differently than expected, despite preparations for success. It is an abbreviated version of the full proverb "the best-laid plans of mice and men oft go astray." I always thought our marriage was stable and that we'd be together forever. I guess it's true what they say, though, the best-laid plans of mice and men and all that. A: "I've been working on this project for six months, and now, right before it's due, they tell me they want something completely different." B: "That's rough. The best-laid plans of mice and men, I suppose."
See also: and, men, mice, of, plan

game plan

A carefully considered strategy. My game plan to secure employment in my field includes gaining as much hands-on experience as I can and obtaining a few more certifications before the end of the year.
See also: game, plan

man plans and God laughs

A phrase that criticizes people's tendency to make plans, as there is no guarantee that plans will work out. I used to make itineraries for our vacations, but nothing ever went as I had planned. Man plans and God laughs, right?
See also: and, god, laugh, man, plan

no plan survives contact with the enemy

Military plans always need to be changed once they are enacted in real-life military situations. The saying emphasizes the need for flexibility, as opposed to strict adherence to strategy. It is attributed to Helmuth von Moltke the Elder, a 19th-century Prussian field marshal. Men, be ready to make changes on the battlefield—we all know that no plan survives contact with the enemy.
See also: contact, enemy, plan, survive

best-laid plans of mice and men oft(en) go astray,

 and best-laid schemes o' mice an' men gang aft a-gley.
Prov. Things often go wrong even though you have carefully planned what you are going to do. (The gang aft a-gley version is Scots dialect, and comes from Robert Burns' poem "To a Mouse.") Jill: I reserved a hotel room for us three weeks ago, but now the clerk says he has no record of our reservation. So much for our fun weekend in the city. Jane: Well, these things happen. The best-laid plans of mice and men oft go astray. I had all the arrangements made for my party, and then the guest of honor got sick and I had to call the whole thing off. The best-laid schemes of mice and men gang aft a-gley. If a little rain can ruin the best-laid plans of mice and men, think what an earthquake might do!
See also: and, astray, men, mice, of, plan

lay something aside

to set something aside; to place something to one side, out of the way. He laid his papers aside and went out to welcome the visitor. He laid aside his papers.
See also: aside, lay

plan for someone

to prepare enough [of something] for someone. Fred just called and said he can show up for dinner after all. Please plan for him. Tony wasn't planned for, and there is no place for him to sit.
See also: plan

plan for something

 
1. to prepare for something. I need to take some time and plan for my retirement. We carefully planned for almost every possibility.
2. to prepare or estimate for a certain number [of people or things]. I am planning for twelve. I hope everyone can come.
See also: plan

plan on someone

to be ready for someone; to anticipate someone's arrival. Don't plan on Sam. He has a cold and probably won't come. We are planning on Ted and Bill.
See also: on, plan

plan on something

to prepare for something; to be ready for something; to anticipate something. If I were you, I would plan on a big crowd at your open house. This was not planned on.
See also: on, plan

plan something out

to make thorough plans for something. Let us sit down and plan our strategy out. We sat down and planned out our strategy.
See also: out, plan

upset someone's plans

Fig. to ruin someone's plans. I hope it doesn't upset your plans if I'm late for the meeting. No, it won't upset my plans at all.
See also: plan, upset

lay aside something

also lay something aside
to ignore something or decide that it is not important Our neighbors laid aside their personal safety to help us save our animals from the fire.
Related vocabulary: set aside something
See also: aside, lay

a game plan

a plan for achieving success, especially in business or politics Part of the firm's game plan is to expand into Eastern Europe.
See also: game, plan

best-laid plans go astray, the

Also, the best-laid schemes go astray. Even very careful designs or projects do not always succeed. For example, Mary spent all afternoon preparing this elaborate dish but forgot the most important ingredient-oh well, the best-laid plans go astray . This particular turn of phrase comes from Robert Burns's poem "To a Mouse" (1786): "The best-laid schemes o' mice an' men gang aft a-gley [go often astray]." It is so well known that it is often abbreviated to the best-laid plans.
See also: plan

lay aside

1. Give up, abandon, as in He laid aside all hopes of winning first prize. [First half of 1400s]
2. Also, lay away; lay by. Set apart for a reason, save for the future, as in They lay aside enough to pay the rent, or Because coffee prices were rising, she laid by enough for a month, or The store laid away the winter coat I wanted. [Early 1700s] The first variant gave rise, about 1970, to the term layaway plan, in which merchandise is laid away for a buyer who pays a deposit and receives it when payment is made in full. Also see lay down, def. 4; set aside.
See also: aside, lay

plan on

1. Have as an aim or purpose, as in We had planned on going to the movies after dinner.
2. Anticipate, prepare for, as in We planned on you to make a speech, or They hadn't planned on such a big crowd. [Early 1900s]
See also: on, plan

lay aside

v.
1. To stop being actively engaged with something: I will lay aside my reading and go for a walk when I finish this chapter. The lifeguard laid the binoculars aside and jumped in the water.
2. To abandon something, especially a plan, hope, or desire; give up something: The marooned sailors had lain aside any hope of being saved. When the loan fell through, they laid their plans of buying a house aside.
3. To save something for the future: I lay aside part of my paycheck every week to save for a new car. Let's lay part of your allowance aside to pay for the movies.
See also: aside, lay

plan ahead

v.
To make arrangements in advance: I planned ahead and bought my tickets a month in advance, which saved me a lot of money.
See also: ahead, plan

plan for

v.
To prepare for something: Many people don't plan for retirement and then find that they haven't saved enough money.
See also: plan

plan on

v.
1. To intend to do something: I plan on buying a house as soon as I get a promotion.
2. To anticipate or expect something: We planned on 50 people coming to our party, so we bought a lot of food. I didn't plan on being stuck in traffic for two hours.
See also: on, plan

plan out

v.
To formulate a detailed scheme or plan for something: Every Monday we have a meeting to plan out the week. The suspects said the murder was an accident, but the police claimed they had planned it all out.
See also: out, plan

game plan

n. a plan of action; a scheme. (From sports.) The game plan for the election was beginning to shape up.
See also: game, plan
References in classic literature ?
Tyler's assistant secretary, who had been left at home, assured me that there was no doubt but that the Toreador had sailed as promised, since he knew his employer well enough to be positive that nothing short of an act of God would prevent his doing what he had planned to do.
Holt said the planning department asked local leaders how they planned to update the plan, and specifically what problems they're trying to fix.
These are all necessary components to ensure that what gets planned gets done, and the more fully and completely these components are integrated, the greater the likelihood of ultimate success.
36% planned to rely on a company savings or investment plan as their major retirement income source, up from 30% the previous year.
Although he planned to continue working for the employer, he now wanted to receive a complete distribution of the remaining balance in his account.
E[acute accent]Benefits planned under the new 401(k) Plus Plan, beginning in January 2008, are as follows:
On the other hand, it may require an employer to make a pension contribution earlier than originally planned, since the transfers essentially use Lip excess pension assets.
Schwab's own institutional trust funds are also planned to be included.