astray


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Related to astray: lead astray, go astray

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 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 plans of mice and men oft go astray

Said when something ends poorly or differently than expected, despite preparations for success. The phrase is likely an adaptation of a line from 18th-century Scottish poet Robert Burns. I always thought our business would last forever. I guess it's true what they say, though, the best-laid plans of mice and men oft 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. The best-laid plans of mice and men oft go astray, I suppose."
See also: and, astray, men, mice, of, oft, plan

lead (one) astray

1. To lead one in the wrong direction; to cause one to be lost or in the wrong place. I'm afraid the GPS led us astray. We should have turned right back there. It was only when we saw the waterfall again that we realized our guide had been leading us astray.
2. To misdirect one into error. A few false positives led me astray at first, but I think I have a good idea of the data trends now.
3. To negatively influence one; to influence one to make poor choices. I just hope this new group that my son is hanging out with doesn't lead him astray.
See also: astray, lead

go astray

1. To deviate from what is good or expected. It's not hard to get that professor to go astray and start ranting about current events.
2. To become lost. A: "It seems my coat has gone astray." B: "Hmm, maybe someone picked it up by mistake."
3. To become fraught with error or proceed in a way that will not lead to success or a positive outcome. We finally had to call in a professional after my efforts to fix the boiler went astray. My life goals just kind of went astray for a time in my twenties, but I've gotten back on track.
See also: astray

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

go astray

 
1. Lit. to wander off the road or path. Stick to the path and try not to go astray. I couldn't see the trail and I almost went astray.
2. Fig. [for something] to get lost or misplaced. My glasses have gone astray again. Mary's book went astray or maybe it was stolen.
3. Fig. to turn bad or wander from the way of goodness; to make an error. I'm afraid your son has gone astray and gotten into a bit of trouble. Iwent astray with the computer program at this point.
See also: astray

lead someone astray

to direct or guide someone in the wrong direction. I am afraid that this young man has been leading you astray. I think you had better stop seeing him. No one can lead me astray. I know what I am doing.
See also: astray, lead

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

go astray

Wander off the right path or subject; also, wander into evil or error. For example, It was hard to follow the lecturer's gist, since he kept going astray, or The gang members led him astray, and he ended up in court. This expression alludes to sheep or other animals that stray from the rest of the flock. Indeed, Handel's oratorio Messiah (1741) has this chorus: "All we like sheep have gone astray, Every one to his own way." [c. 1300]
See also: astray

go aˈstray


1 become lost; be stolen: Several letters went astray or were not delivered.We locked up our valuables so they wouldn’t go astray.
2 go in the wrong direction or have the wrong result: Fortunately the gunman’s shots went astray.
See also: astray

lead somebody aˈstray

encourage somebody to behave in a silly or criminal way: Small children are easily led astray by older children.He’s a weak character, who’s easily led astray.
See also: astray, lead, somebody
References in periodicals archive ?
This is certainly a strange type of guidance, worse than going astray.
AMID all the euphoria over Europe's great success at the Breeders' Cup, the Dikler was sorry to see one plot go astray.
It noticed I had gone astray and said: "Do a U-turn".
WHICH ex-Premier League star upset his MLS team-mates when he led them astray on a night out they couldn't afford and then made them all pay up?
The former Tory leader said unless an inquiry was held now memories would fade and files would go astray.
Why then do the authorities feel confident the data has not gone astray, in the absence of sudden and widespread raids on personal accounts?
To the south-west there's another solitary stone sometimes reckoned to be the fiddler who led the women astray.
18:6, Jesus warns against leading astray a little one "who believes in me.
It asks Allah: "Show us the straight path, the path of those whom Thou hast favored; not the (path) of those who earn Thine anger nor of those who go astray.
A Harlem boy on the way up as a successful basketball player and rapper goes astray in this hard-core urban tale.
In their quest to understand nature at its deepest level, many scientists have been led astray, according to Smolin.
It helps ensure that should one branch go astray, the other two will check the errant branch.
Afterward, manager Mike Scioscia fretted not over another fielding chance gone astray, but of missed opportunities that would have changed the complexion of the game.
I am inspired by how the entire flock circles back to include the one bird that has gone astray, instead of heading out and leaving it behind.
It would be one thing to have a problem with a group or movement proclaiming false doctrine and leading people astray, but to take issue with groups striving to live their Catholic faith in a deeper way is counterproductive for the church and the world.