American English

Definition of plan noun from the Oxford Advanced American Dictionary



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  1. 1something that you intend to do or achieve plan (for something) Do you have any plans for the summer? plan (to do something) There are no plans to build new offices. Your best plan (= the best thing to do) would be to go by car. There's been a change of plan. We can't change our plans now. Thesauruspurposeaim intention plan point ideaThese are all words for talking about what someone intends to do or achieve.purpose what something is supposed to achieve; what someone is trying to achieve:The purpose of the visit was to see the campus in person.aim what someone is trying to achieve; what something is supposed to achieve:Our main aim is to increase sales in the Northwest.purpose or aim?Your purpose for doing something is your reason for doing it; your aim is what you want to achieve. Aim can suggest that you are only trying to achieve something;purpose gives a stronger sense of achievement being certain. Aim can be someone's aim or the aim of something. Purpose is more usually the purpose of something; you can talk about someone's purpose but that is more formal.intention what you intend to do:I have no intention of going to the wedding. She's full of good intentions but things rarely work out for her.plan what you intend to do or achieve:There are no plans to build new offices.intention or plan?Your intentions are what you want to do, especially in the near future; your plans are what you have decided or arranged to do, often, but not always, in the longer term.point (somewhat informal) the purpose or aim of something:What's the point of all this violence? The point of the lesson is to compare the two countries.idea (somewhat informal) the purpose of something; someone's aim:The whole idea of going was so that we could meet her new boyfriend. What's the idea behind this assignment?point or idea?Point is a more negative word than idea. If you say What's the point…? you are suggesting that there is no point; if you say What's the idea…? you are genuinely asking a question. Point, but not idea, is used to talk about things you feel annoyed or unhappy about:There's no idea in… I don't see the idea of….Patterns with the aim/intention/idea >of>doing something somebody's intention/plan to do something to have a(n) purpose/aim/intention/plan/point to achieve a(n) purpose/aim
  2. arrangement
  3. 2a set of things to do in order to achieve something, especially one that has been considered in detail in advance plan (for something) Both sides agreed to a detailed plan for keeping the peace. plan (to do something) The government has announced plans to create one million new training places. a development/business/peace, etc. plan a five-point plan a three-year plan We need to make plans for the future. a plan of action/campaign Let's hope everything will go according to plan. see also master plan
  4. map
  5. 3a detailed map of a building, town, etc. a plan of the museum a street plan of the city
  6. drawing
  7. 4[usually plural] plan (for/of something) (technology) a detailed drawing of a machine, building, etc. that shows its size, shape, and measurements The architect is drawing up plans for the new offices. Plans for our extension have been submitted for approval. compare elevation, ground plan
  8. 5a diagram that shows how something will be arranged a seating plan (= showing where each person will sit, for example at a dinner) a floor plan (= showing how furniture is arranged)
  9. money
  10. 6(especially in compounds) a way of investing money for the future a savings plan
  11. Idioms
    (it) sounds like a plan to me
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    used to agree to a suggestion that you think is good
See the Oxford Advanced Learner's Dictionary entry: plan