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.
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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
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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
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