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the best-laid schemes o' mice an' men gang aft a-gley
proverb Said when something ends poorly or differently than expected, despite preparations for success. It comes 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." ("Gang aft a-gley" means "go oft astray" in Scottish vernacular.) 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 o' mice an' men gang aft a-gley. 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 o' mice an' men gang aft a-gley, I suppose."
Farlex Dictionary of Idioms. © 2015 Farlex, Inc, all rights reserved.
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!
McGraw-Hill Dictionary of American Idioms and Phrasal Verbs. © 2002 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.