Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • n. A systematic plan of action: "Did you ever carry out your scheme of writing a series of sonnets embodying all the great epochs of art?” ( Edith Wharton).
  • n. A secret or devious plan; a plot. See Synonyms at plan.
  • n. An orderly combination of related parts: an irrigation scheme with dams, reservoirs, and channels.
  • n. A chart, diagram, or outline of a system or object.
  • transitive v. To plot: scheming their revenge.
  • transitive v. To contrive a plan or scheme for.
  • intransitive v. To make plans, especially secret or devious ones.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. A systematic plan of future action.
  • n. A plot or secret, devious plan.
  • n. An orderly combination of related parts.
  • n. A chart or diagram of a system or object.
  • n. A type of topological space.
  • n. A council housing estate.
  • n. An artful deviation from the ordinary arrangement of words.
  • v. To plot, or contrive a plan.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. A combination of things connected and adjusted by design; a system.
  • n. A plan or theory something to be done; a design; a project.
  • n. Any lineal or mathematical diagram; an outline.
  • n. A representation of the aspects of the celestial bodies for any moment or at a given event.
  • transitive v. To make a scheme of; to plan; to design; to project; to plot.
  • intransitive v. To form a scheme or schemes.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • n. A connected and orderly arrangement, as of related precepts or coördinate theories; a regularly formulated plan; system.
  • n. A linear representation showing the relative position, form, etc., of the parts or elements of a thing or system; a diagram; a sketch or outline.
  • n. In astrology, a representation of the aspects of the celestial bodies; an astrological figure of the heavens.
  • n. A statement or plan in tabular form; an official and formal plan: as, a scheme of division (see phrase below); a scheme of postal distribution or of mail service.
  • n. A plan to be executed; a project or design; purpose.
  • n. A specific organization for the attainment of some distinct object: as, the seven schemes of the Church of Scotland (for the propagation of the gospel in foreign parts, the conversion of the Jews, home missions, etc.; these are under the charge of a joint committee).
  • n. A figure of speech.
  • n. = Syn.5. Design, Project, etc. See plan.
  • To plan; contrive; plot; project; design.
  • To form plans; contrive; plan; plot.
  • n. In printing, the written or printed summary of the proper quantity of types for each character: in Great Britain a ‘scheme’ of type is called a ‘bill’ of type.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • v. form intrigues (for) in an underhand manner
  • n. an elaborate and systematic plan of action
  • n. a schematic or preliminary plan
  • n. a group of independent but interrelated elements comprising a unified whole
  • n. a statement that evades the question by cleverness or trickery
  • n. an internal representation of the world; an organization of concepts and actions that can be revised by new information about the world
  • v. devise a system or form a scheme for

Etymologies

Latin schēma, figure, from Greek skhēma.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
From Medieval Latin schema ("figure, form"). (Wiktionary)

Examples

  • ... and she said: * scheme and plot, plot and scheme*

    jaxraven Diary Entry

  • Very elaborately he devised a funding scheme which, taken in connection with his system of issues, was in effect what in these days would be called an "_interconvertibility scheme_" By various degrees of persuasion or force, -- the guillotine looming up in the background, -- holders of _assignats_ were urged to convert them into evidence of national debt, bearing interest at five per cent, with the understanding that if more paper were afterward needed more would be issued.

    Fiat Money Inflation in France

  • Pursued to the end, the Ervin scheme could produce a national polity which would be almost as overbalanced in the direction of congressional supremacy as the Nixon scheme is in the direction of presidential supremacy.

    The Runaway Presidency

  • Yet, if taken literally, the Ervin scheme is a scheme of presidential subordination.

    The Runaway Presidency

  • Anyway, that lurid phase of Toronto history - and my aborted career as Rosie Lovelace - came to mind upon learning this past week about an apparent back-door you should forgive the expression scheme to turn the city once again into North America's body rub capital.

    Thestar.com - Home Page

  • Garcia's defense attorney, John Bishop of Cedar Rapids, said in court records the title scheme was just one thread of a larger network that allowed workers and residents in the meatpacking town to earn a living and remain in the U.S.

    FailedMessiah.com

  • In response to the ruling, Congress added a short provision to the federal fraud statute that said, "For the purposes of this chapter, the term scheme or artifice to defraud includes a scheme or artifice to deprive another of the intangible right of honest services."

    Latest News - UPI.com

  • If his scheme is adopted, student numbers are likely to fall anyway, though the prospects for a vocational degree in, say, surf science (with "frequent practical beach sessions" – check out the University of Plymouth) may be better, with Browne's market in charge, than they are for low-priority arts courses featuring Venetian art history.

    Why are we letting business big shots alter our society?

  • One of the big drawbacks to any voucher scheme is the adverse selection problem.

    Teacher Pay, Arnold Kling | EconLog | Library of Economics and Liberty

  • Charles Mok elaborated the argument and pointed out that the scheme is an excuse to discipline obedient citizenry:

    Global Voices in English » Hong Kong: School drug testing scheme

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