Definition of plan noun from the Oxford Advanced Learner's Dictionary



    BrE BrE//plæn//
    ; NAmE NAmE//plæn//
    Construction, Running a business
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  1. 1  something 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. Synonymspurposeaim intention plan point ideaThese are all words for talking about what somebody/​something intends to do or achieve.purpose what something is supposed to achieve; what somebody is trying to achieve:Our campaign’s main purpose is to raise money.aim what somebody is trying to achieve; what something is supposed to achieve:She went to London with the aim of finding a job. Our main aim is to increase sales in Europe.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 somebody’s aim or the aim of something. Purpose is more usually the purpose of something: you can talk about somebody’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 they rarely work out.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 (rather 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 (rather informal) the purpose of something; somebody’s aim:The whole idea of going was so that we could meet her new boyfriend. What’s the idea behind this?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 purpose/​aim/​intention/​idea of doing something somebody’s intention/​plan to do something to have a(n) purpose/​aim/​intention/​plan/​point to achieve/​fulfil a(n) purpose/​aim
  2. arrangement
  3. 2  a 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 See related entries: Running a business
  4. map
  5. 3  a 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) (specialist) 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 (4), ground plan See related entries: Construction
  8. 5  a 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. Word Originlate 17th cent.: from French, from earlier plant ‘ground plan, plane surface’, influenced in sense by Italian pianta ‘plan of building’. Compare with plant.Extra examples A new plan for reducing traffic accidents was unveiled. A spokeswoman confirmed there was no definite plan to stage a concert in the park. Do you have any contingency plans if the scheme doesn’t work? Do you have any contingency plans if there is a delay? Even the best-laid plans can go wrong. I like to make plans well in advance. If Plan A fails, go to Plan B. Let’s stick to our original plan Local residents have vowed to fight plans to build a new road. Plans are afoot to stage a new opera. Plans to build a dam have been shelved following protests. Senators signed a letter opposing the plan. Site plans were filed with the city this week. The airline intends to file a reorganization plan within three months. The best plan is for me to meet you at the airport. The government has ambitious plans for prison reform. The government launched a five-year plan aimed at diversifying the economy. The moves contravene the peace plan agreed by both sides. The plan calls for investments totalling $100 million. The plan calls for massive investment in the region. The plan contains four main elements. The plan shows the exact location of the house. The president will now press ahead with his plans for reform. The strike ruined my travel plans. To change anything in this organization, we’ll need a plan of action. We need to develop a sound business plan. What are your immediate plans? What is their game plan for winning the election? a six-week low-fat eating plan a three-point action plan to improve hygiene at work plans for the future Do you have a plan of the museum? Enemy spies stole the plans for the new aircraft. He had no master plan in place before he started the project. He produced a plan of the house. How are your wedding plans coming along? It’s a good idea to always have a plan B if your original plan falls through. Let’s hope everything goes according to plan. Senior officials put forward a three-year plan. She drew some plans and elevations of the church’s structure. The architect is drawing up plans for the new office. The corporation is pressing ahead with plans to build a new power station. The floor plan is very simple. The government has announced plans to create 50 000 new training places. The main markets were clearly marked on the plan. The peace plan was agreed at an international summit meeting. The plan shows where all the electrical points will go. The plan will be put into action within the next three months. The plans were made some time ago, but work on the building has not yet started. There’s been a change of plan. They are working on an economic development plan. We asked for street plan of the city. We can’t change our plans now. Who was responsible for the seating plan? You will need a clear and realistic business plan. Your best plan would be to go by car. a plan of action/​campaign an action planIdioms (South African English) to think of something you can do to solve a problem or make something happen It's going to be difficult to find the time but I'll make a plan. I’ll make a plan to get it copied and sent to you. If the pain hasn’t gone by tomorrow, I’ll make a plan.
    (it) sounds like a plan to me
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    (especially North American English) used to agree to a suggestion that you think is good
See the Oxford Advanced American Dictionary entry: plan