Meaning of “plan” in the English Dictionary

"plan" in British English

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uk /plæn/ us /plæn/

plan noun (DECISION)

A2 [ C ] a set of decisions about how to do something in the future:

a company's business plan
a five-year plan
holiday plans
What are your plans for this weekend?
[ + to infinitive ] My plan is to sell the house and buy an apartment.
go according to plan

to happen in the way you intend:

Events of this type rarely go according to plan.

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plan noun (DRAWING)

B2 [ C ] a drawing of a building, town, area, vehicle, machine, etc. that only shows its shape from above, its size, and the position of important details:

a street plan (= a type of map of a town showing the roads)
a seating plan (= a drawing that shows where each person will sit)
plans [ plural ]

B2 drawings from which something is made or built:

The architect showed us the house plans that she had drawn up.
I'll send a set of plans for the new machine.

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uk /plæn/ us /plæn/ -nn-

plan verb (DECIDE)

B1 [ I + adv/prep, T ] to think about and decide what you are going to do or how you are going to do something:

She helped them to plan their route.
If we plan carefully, we should be able to stay within our budget.
[ + question word ] She's already planning how to spend her prize money.

A2 [ I or T ] to intend to do something or that an event or result should happen:

Our meeting wasn't planned - it was completely accidental.
[ + to infinitive ] I'm not planning to stay here much longer.
[ + adv/prep ] We only planned for six guests, but then someone brought a friend.

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(Definition of “plan” from the Cambridge Advanced Learner’s Dictionary & Thesaurus © Cambridge University Press)

"plan" in American English

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us /plæn/

plan noun (METHOD)

[ C/U ] a method for doing or achieving something, usually involving a series of actions or stages, or something you have arranged to do:

[ C ] The financial plan calls for growth of 5% next year.
[ C ] They had plans to have dinner at a local restaurant.

[ C/U ] A plan is also an arrangement for investment:

[ C/U ] If something goes according to plan, it happens the way you wanted it to:

[ U ] Producing a new movie rarely goes exactly according to plan.

plan noun (MAP)

[ C ] a drawing that shows the shape, size, and position of important details of a building or other structure, or of objects within it:

The floor plan showed us exactly where everyone’s office would be.


us /plæn/ -nn-

plan verb (METHOD)

[ I/T ] to think about and decide on a method for doing or achieving something:

[ + to infinitive ] She’s planning to visit her sister in Australia next year.
[ I always + adv/prep ] He planned on taking his vacation in July.
[ I always + adv/prep ] You’ve got to plan ahead and save your money for your retirement.

(Definition of “plan” from the Cambridge Academic Content Dictionary © Cambridge University Press)

"plan" in Business English

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plannoun [ C ]

uk /plæn/ us

[ C ] a set of actions that are intended to achieve a specific aim:

a plan/plans to do sth The government has launched a $935m plan to create jobs.
a plan/plans for sth Plans for a share buyback are expected to be unveiled later this week.
have plans/no plans to do sth A representative of the bank said it had no plans to make further cuts in its bonus rates.
under a plan A further 2,500 job cuts are planned for this year under a plan to save €1.3bn in costs.
a strategic/financial/marketing plan Operations that do not fit the firm's overall strategic plan are currently being sold off.
an ambitious/controversial plan
immediate/long-term/future plans
a three-phase/five-point/ten-year plan
have/come up with/draw up a plan You will need to have a plan to cover start-up expenses while you grow your business.
announce/unveil/reveal a plan The telecommunications giant yesterday announced a restructuring plan.
outline/formulate/finalize a plan Over the next few months, the board will finalize its plans for meeting the 2020 mandate on carbon dioxide emissions.
abandon/shelve/scrap a plan Plans to expand into Spain and Portugal were shelved during the recession last year.
keep to/stick to/follow a plan By sticking to our original plan, we finally made a success of the business.
approve/back/support a plan Ministers meeting in Brussels approved a plan to refinance the project.
agree/adopt/implement a plan Get your team around the table and agree a plan of action to give more attention to detail.
oppose/reject a plan
go ahead/press ahead/proceed with a plan
a plan involves/includes sth A new €30 million investment plan announced Friday includes the construction of new plants.
a plan fails/succeeds Plans to reassure investors failed and shares slipped 3%.

an idea about what you may do in the future:

What are your plans after you graduate from college?
a plan/plans for sth You need to sit down and think about your plans for retirement.
sb's plan is to do sth Their plan is to cut income tax for the lower paid.

FINANCE a financial arrangement in which someone regularly saves or invests money:

a detailed drawing or diagram of a machine or building that shows the different parts, rooms, etc., including their size and shape:

A team of architects drew up plans for the new office building.

a drawing of a room or other area that shows the position or arrangement of things inside it:

a floor/seating plan


uk /plæn/ us -nn-

[ I or T ] to think about the details of something that will happen in the future:

plan a project/mission/campaign They spent several months planning the project.
go ahead/happen as planned If all goes ahead as planned, the new superstore will open in November.
earlier/longer/less, etc. than planned Installing the new computer system has taken far longer than planned.

[ I or T ] to intend to do a particular thing in the future:

We're planning a change to our pricing structure.
A number of large residential developments are planned for the area.
plan to do sth In February of this year, the company filed for bankruptcy, and it plans to auction its assets in late May.
plan (on) doing sth She plans on working as a freelance consultant once she has left her current role.

[ I ] to think about and make arrangements for things that will happen in the future:

Job insecurity makes it difficult for people to plan.
plan ahead The new tax guide tells you how to plan ahead to keep any tax bills to a minimum.
plan for sth Airport bosses are planning for an extension of the current terminal.

Phrasal verb(s)

(Definition of “plan” from the Cambridge Business English Dictionary © Cambridge University Press)