The phrase "the best-laid plans" refers to the idea that even the most carefully arranged projects or schemes can often go awry.
"The best laid plans" is an idiom highlighting that careful planning cannot always prevent things from going wrong.
The idiom "the best-laid plans" conveys the inevitability of unpredicted problems or changes disrupting even the most carefully organized plans or projects. If you reference "the best laid plans," you're acknowledging that, despite meticulous planning, things might not proceed as expected.
Key aspects of the idiom's meaning include:
The idiom comes from a line in the 1786 poem "To a Mouse" by the famed Scottish poet Robert Burns.
The line reads:
"The best-laid schemes o' mice an' men gang aft agley."
Which translates to:
"The best-laid plans of mice and men often go awry."
"No! There is much to lament; and many lessons are presented to ourselves, in the perpetual discovery of the insufficiency of the best laid plans to ameliorate the character of fallen man."
- Village Plans and Domestic Sketches, 1828
Here are some examples of using the idiom in sentences:
The phrase "the best-laid plans" often appears in literature, music, and film, often to denote the failure of a carefully designed plan.
Some examples include:
There are several alternative expressions that convey a similar meaning to "the best-laid plans."
Some of these include:
These phrases all express the same concept of life's unpredictability and the occasional ineffectiveness of careful planning.
"The best laid plans" is an idiom that signifies the concept that even very careful planning cannot always prevent things from going wrong.
You can use the phrase in a sentence to denote a situation where a well-thought-out plan did not turn out as expected due to unforeseen circumstances. An example could be, "Despite the best laid plans, the fundraising event had to be postponed due to bad weather."
The idiom comes from a line in a poem by the Scottish poet Robert Burns, "To a Mouse," written in 1785.
The phrase isn't necessarily negative but does highlight the inevitability of unforeseen problems, even in well-planned projects or schemes.
Yes, "the best laid plans" can be used in both formal and informal contexts. It's commonly used in literature, speeches, and professional settings.
Yes, it is a common idiom used in everyday conversation to indicate when things don't go as planned, despite careful preparation.
One common variation is "the best laid plans of mice and men," which is closer to the original line from Burns's poem. It carries the same meaning as the shortened version.
The central theme is the unpredictability of life and the fact that, despite our best efforts and careful planning, things can still go wrong due to unforeseen circumstances.
Yes, there are several books with the title "The Best Laid Plans," including a novel by Sidney Sheldon and another by Terry Fallis. Both books explore the theme of plans going unexpectedly awry.
Yes, like many idioms, "the best-laid plans" can be used sarcastically to highlight a plan that was doomed to fail from the start due to poor planning or unrealistic expectations.
The idiom "the best-laid plans" emphasizes the unpredictability of life, reminding us that even the most meticulous plans can go awry due to unforeseen circumstances. You can use it in various contexts to indicate the failure of a plan, irrespective of how carefully it was laid out.
Key aspects of the phrase:
Use this idiom when you want to express the notion that despite careful planning, things didn't turn out as expected due to circumstances beyond your control. It adds a touch of realism or a note of caution to discussions about future plans.