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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, go, men, mice, of, oft, plan
Farlex Dictionary of Idioms. © 2022 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!
See also: and, astray, go, men, mice, of, oft, plan
McGraw-Hill Dictionary of American Idioms and Phrasal Verbs. © 2002 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.
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