a plan, design, or program of action to be followed; project.
an underhand plot; intrigue.
a visionary or impractical project.
a body or system of related doctrines, theories, etc.: a scheme of philosophy.
any system of correlated things, parts, etc., or the manner of its arrangement.
a plan, program, or policy officially adopted and followed, as by a government or business: The company's pension scheme is very successful.
an analytical or tabular statement.
a diagram, map, or the like.
an astrological diagram of the heavens.
verb (used with object), schemed, scheming.
to devise as a scheme; plan; plot; contrive.
verb (used without object), schemed, scheming.
to lay schemes; devise plans; plot.

1545–55; < Medieval Latin schēma (stem schēmat-) < Greek schêma form, figure

schemeless, adjective
schemer, noun
outscheme, verb (used with object), outschemed, outscheming.
subscheme, noun
underscheme, noun
unschemed, adjective

1, 6. See plan. 2. stratagem, cabal, conspiracy. 5. pattern, schema. 10. See plot1. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
Cite This Source Link To scheme
World English Dictionary
scheme (skiːm)
1.  a systematic plan for a course of action
2.  a systematic arrangement of correlated parts; system
3.  a secret plot
4.  a visionary or unrealizable project
5.  a chart, diagram, or outline
6.  an astrological diagram giving the aspects of celestial bodies at a particular time
7.  chiefly (Brit) a plan formally adopted by a commercial enterprise or governmental body, as for pensions, etc
8.  chiefly (Scot) an area of housing that is laid out esp by a local authority; estate
9.  (tr) to devise a system for
10.  to form intrigues (for) in an underhand manner
[C16: from Latin schema, from Greek skhēma form]

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition
2009 © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009
Cite This Source
Word Origin & History

1553, "figure of speech," from M.L. schema "shape, figure, form, figure of speech," from Gk. skhema (gen. skhematos) "figure, appearance, the nature of a thing," related to skhein "to get," and ekhein "to have," from PIE base *segh- "to hold, to hold in one's power, to have" (cf. Skt. sahate "he masters,"
sahah "power, victory;" Avestan hazah "power, victory;" Gk. ekhein "to have, hold;" Goth. sigis, O.H.G. sigu, O.N. sigr, O.E. sige "victory"). The sense "program of action" first is attested 1647. Unfavorable overtones (selfish, devious) began to creep in early 18c. The verb, in the sense of "devise a scheme," was first recorded 1767. Color scheme is attested from 1884.
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
Cite This Source
Computing Dictionary

Scheme definition

(Originally "Schemer", by analogy with Planner and Conniver). A small, uniform Lisp dialect with clean semantics, developed initially by Guy Steele and Gerald Sussman in 1975. Scheme uses applicative order reduction and lexical scope. It treats both functions and continuations as first-class objects.
One of the most used implementations is DrScheme, others include Bigloo, Elk, Liar, Orbit, Scheme86 (Indiana U), SCM, MacScheme (Semantic Microsystems), PC Scheme (TI), MIT Scheme, and T.
See also Kamin's interpreters, PSD, PseudoScheme, Schematik, Scheme Repository, STk, syntax-case, Tiny Clos, Paradigms of AI Programming.
There have been a series of revisions of the report defining Scheme, known as RRS (Revised Report on Scheme), R2RS (Revised Revised Report ..), R3RS, R3.99RS, R4RS.
Scheme resources (
Mailing list:
[IEEE P1178-1990, "IEEE Standard for the Scheme Programming Language", ISBN 1-55937-125-0].
The Free On-line Dictionary of Computing, © Denis Howe 2010
Cite This Source
American Heritage
Idioms & Phrases


see best-laid plans (schemes).

The American Heritage® Dictionary of Idioms by Christine Ammer.
Copyright © 1997. Published by Houghton Mifflin.
Cite This Source
Example sentences
Instead, it seemed that every idea and action was contrived extemporaneously,
  and without scheme or strategy.
The basic color scheme is a soft buttery yellow for the cabinets, with
  periwinkle blue on the cabinet handles.
The rug defines the space and color scheme, making it easier to choose
But tweak the shape a little and update the color scheme and it's even better.
Idioms & Phrases
Copyright © 2014, LLC. All rights reserved.
  • Please Login or Sign Up to use the Recent Searches feature