plan


Also found in: Dictionary, Thesaurus, Medical, Legal, Financial, Acronyms, Encyclopedia, Wikipedia.
Related to plan: Marshall Plan, dictionary, Business plan, thesaurus

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

the never-never plan

The act of buying something and paying for it in installments. Primarily heard in UK. I'm still on the never-never plan for some of the gifts I bought last Christmas.
See also: plan

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

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

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

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

a game plan

COMMON Someone's game plan is the things that they intend to do in order to achieve a particular aim. I simply stuck to my game plan. I had always wanted to be a millionaire from a very early age. If I'm honest, I walked into this situation without a clear game plan. Note: In American football, a game plan is a strategy which the players and coach develop before a match.
See also: game, plan

plan B

COMMON Someone's plan B is a second plan they have that they will use if their first plan is not successful. It was too late to rethink my plan, and due to the fact that I didn't have a plan B, I was stuck with it.
See also: 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 ?
They prepare a "fundamental plan," outlining what may reasonably be expected to happen in fifteen or twenty years.
Then he returned hastily, shut his door carefully, and began to study, like a clever architect, the plan Andrea had left him.
Should the Northwest Company persist in extending their trade in that quarter, their competition might be of serious detriment to the plans of Mr.
But her life was just now full of hope and action: she was not only thinking of her plans, but getting down learned books from the library and reading many things hastily (that she might be a little less ignorant in talking to Mr.
Here he gathered together his few belongings that were to buy him the uncertain safety of escape, and as he stood for a moment beside the little table on which he had piled them he searched his brain for some feasible plan either to ensure his safety or to bring revenge upon his enemies.
He made it plain to the Russian that there were but two plans open to him--either he must consent to being turned over immediately to Lord Greystoke, or he must pay to the sailor, as a price for permission to quit the Kincaid unmolested, every cent of money and article of value upon his person and in his cabin.
His daughter did not question him as to the cause of this change in plans, for since those three days that her father had kept himself locked in his workroom at home the girl had noticed a subtle change in her parent--a marked disinclination to share with her his every confidence as had been his custom since the death of her mother.
And so it was that they came to Singapore without the girl having the slightest conception of her father's plans.
When dawn came Tarzan explained his plan of battle to the warriors, and without demur one and all agreed that it was the safest and surest way in which to rid themselves of their unwelcome visitors and be revenged for the murder of their fellows.
When on the evening that he arrived home he informed the bailiff of his plans, the latter with visible pleasure agreed with what he said so long as he was pointing out that all that had been done up to that time was stupid and useless.
Felix soon learned that the treacherous Turk, for whom he and his family endured such unheard-of oppression, on discovering that his deliverer was thus reduced to poverty and ruin, became a traitor to good feeling and honour and had quitted Italy with his daughter, insultingly sending Felix a pittance of money to aid him, as he said, in some plan of future maintenance.
And so, knowing his master and many of his past deeds, knowing, too, a great deal about the plans of Malbihn and Baynes that had been overheard by himself, or other servants; and knowing well from the gossip of the head-men that half of Malbihn's party lay in camp by the great river far to the west, it was not difficult for the boy to put two and two together and arrive at four as the sum--the four being represented by a firm conviction that his master had deceived the other white man and taken the latter's woman to his western camp, leaving the other to suffer capture and punishment at the hands of the Big Bwana whom all feared.
Hence in the wise leader's plans, considerations of advantage and of disadvantage will be blended together.
He would have held his tongue about it, both as a measure of prudence, and in order not to have to reconsider his plans.
You may lay your plans ever so carefully, but you cannot foresee such a contretemps as this.