1550s, "figure of speech" (a sense now obsolete), from Medieval Latin schema "a shape, a figure, a form, appearance; figure of speech; posture in dancing," from Greek skhēma (genitive skhematos) "figure, appearance, the nature of a thing," which is related to skhein "to get," and ekhein "to have, hold; be in a given state or condition" (from PIE root *segh- "to hold").
By 1610s as "linear representation showing relative positions pf the parts or elements of a system" (especially in astrology). The sense "program of action" is by 1640s, also "outline, draft of a book, etc."
The meaning "plan of action devised to attain some end" is by 1718, and unfavorable overtones (selfishness, deviousness) began to creep in to the word after that time. Meaning "complex unity of coordinated component elements, a connected and orderly arrangement" is from 1736. In prosody by 1838. Color scheme is by 1890 (in Milton Bradley Co.'s "Color in the School-Room"); earlier scheme of colour (by 1877).
1716, transitive, "reduce to a scheme;" 1767, "devise a scheme, plot, plan," from scheme (n.). Intransitive sense of "form plans, contrive" is by 1842. Related: Schemed; scheming.
1724, "a contriver, plotter," agent noun from scheme (v.). Schematist was used from 1690s for "framer of a system or doctrine." Schemist is from 1640s as "astrologer," 1753 as "projector."
"formulate in a regular order," 1866, from Latinized form of Greek skhēmatizein, from stem of skhēma "figure, appearance" (see scheme (n.)). Related: Schematization.
investment scam by which early investors are paid off from the contributions of later ones, 1957, in reference to Charles Ponzi (1882-1949), who perpetrated such a scheme in the U.S. 1919-20.
Proto-Indo-European root meaning "to hold."
It forms all or part of: Antioch; asseverate; asthenia; asthenosphere; cachectic; cachexia; calisthenics; cathexis; entelechy; eunuch; epoch; hectic; Hector; ischemia; myasthenia; neurasthenia; Ophiuchus; persevere; schema; schematic; scheme; scholar; scholastic; school (n.1) "place of instruction;" severe; severity; Siegfried.
It is the hypothetical source of/evidence for its existence is provided by: Sanskrit sahate "he masters, overcomes," sahah "power, victory;" Avestan hazah "power, victory;" Greek skhema "figure, appearance, the nature of a thing," related to skhein "to get," ekhein "to have, hold; be in a given state or condition;" Gothic sigis, Old High German sigu, Old Norse sigr, Old English sige "victory."
1660s, scetch, "rough drawing intended to serve as the basis for a finished picture," from Dutch schets or Low German skizze, both apparently being 17c. artists' borrowings from Italian schizzo "sketch, drawing."
This is commonly said to be from Latin *schedius (OED compares schedia "raft," schedium "an extemporaneous poem"), which is from or related to Greek skhedios "temporary, extemporaneous, done or made off-hand," related to skhema "form, shape, appearance" (see scheme (n.)). But according to Barnhart Italian schizzo is a special use of schizzo "a splash, squirt," from schizzare "to splash or squirt," a word of uncertain origin. German Skizze, French esquisse, Spanish esquicio are said to be likewise from Italian schizzo.
The extended sense of "brief account" is from 1660s. The meaning "short and slightly constructed play or performance, usually comic" is from 1789; in music, "short composition of a single movement," 1840. In old slang, a sketch or a hot sketch was "amusing, ridiculous person" (1909). Sketch-book "book with blank leaves of drawing paper" is recorded from 1820; it also was used of printed books composed of literary sketches.
c. 1600, "to lay plots, intrigue," a back-formation from machination, or else from Latin machinatus, past participle of machinari "to contrive skillfully; to design, scheme, plot." Transitive sense of "to plan, contrive, form (a plot, scheme, etc.)" also is from c. 1600. Related: Machinated; machinating; machinator.