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Related to schemes: Pyramid schemes

the best-laid schemes

Said when something ends poorly or differently than expected, despite preparations for success. It is an abbreviated version of the line, "The best-laid schemes o' mice an' men gang aft a-gley" (go astray), from Robert Burns' poem "To a Mouse," which itself is a play on the 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 schemes 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 schemes, I suppose."
See also: scheme

the best-laid schemes go astray

Said when things that are well prepared for or seem certain end poorly or differently from how one intends. It is an abbreviated version of the line, "The best-laid schemes o' mice an' men gang aft a-gley" (go astray), from Robert Burns' poem "To a Mouse," which itself is a play on the 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 schemes 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 schemes go astray, I suppose."
See also: astray, scheme

the best-laid schemes of mice and men

Said when something ends poorly or differently than expected, despite preparations for success. It is an abbreviated version of the line, "The best-laid schemes o' mice an' men gang aft a-gley" (go astray), from Robert Burns' poem "To a Mouse," which itself is a play on the 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 schemes 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 schemes of mice and men, I suppose."
See also: and, men, mice, of, scheme

grand scheme

The long term; the complete picture of something. Typically used in the phrase "in the grand scheme of things." I know you're worried about getting a bad grade on this test, but you're such a great student that I doubt it will matter in the grand scheme of things.
See also: grand, scheme

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, oft, plan

scheme against someone or something

to plot or conspire against someone or something. A group of generals was plotting against the government. They schemed against the king until he caught them and put an end to it.
See also: scheme

scheme for something

to plot and plan for something, perhaps using deception. She is scheming for a raise. Ted is always scheming for a way to miss work.
See also: scheme

in the scheme of things

in a general view of the situation She just got here and hasn't figured out where she belongs in the scheme of things.
Usage notes: often used with the adjectives grand, larger, or overall, usually to suggest that something is not very important: A two-week delay will not matter in the overall scheme of things.
See also: of, scheme, thing

in the grand/great scheme of things

if you say that in the grand scheme of things something is not important, you mean that it is not important when compared to much more serious things In the grand scheme of things, whether another actress has her navel pierced is not really that significant.
See also: grand, of, scheme, thing

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
References in classic literature ?
Astor should he be able to carry his scheme into effect; but they anticipated a monopoly of the trade beyond the mountains by their establishments in New Caledonia, and were loth to share it with an individual who had already proved a formidable competitor in the Atlantic trade.
Before I leave you to-night, you have got to promise me to suppress your report, and to speak in the House in favour of this scheme.
I wanted to interest him in this Argentine Canal scheme, of which I dare say you have heard.
Apparently to try and lure Robert to uphold some fraudulent scheme in which she is interested.
And what did she mean by boasting that she had got you to lend your support, your name, to a thing I have heard you describe as the most dishonest and fraudulent scheme there has ever been in political life?
Cheveley, and tell her that you cannot support this scandalous scheme of hers?
Write that you decline to support this scheme of hers, as you hold it to be a dishonest scheme.
A sacrifice was always noble; and if she had given way to their entreaties, she should have been spared the distressing idea of a friend displeased, a brother angry, and a scheme of great happiness to both destroyed, perhaps through her means.
It would take a strong animal to test the efficacy of his new scheme.
He read the books lent him by Sviazhsky, and copying out what he had not got, he read both the economic and socialistic books on the subject, but, as he had anticipated, found nothing bearing on the scheme he had undertaken.
Tenders are invited for Design Build all system components of 18 village Piped Water Supply Scheme and Operation and maintenance of following Schemes:
NAWABSHAH -- Deputy commissioners are nominated by provincial government to supervise development schemes and check the quality of material used in schemes within the concerned district, said commissioner Shaheed Benazirabad division, Ghulam Mustafa Phull.
LAHORE -- Lahore Development Authority (LDA) has initiated necessary legal action against 109 illegal housing schemes in Lahore under LDA Act-(1975).
The earliest you can access pension benefits under these schemes (unless you are in serious ill health) is currently age 55.
LDK Silicon") and the Hong Kong schemes of arrangement in respect of LDK Solar, LDK Silicon and LDK Silicon Holding Co.