Etymology
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scheme (n.)

1550s, "figure of speech," from Medieval Latin schema "shape, figure, form, appearance; figure of speech; posture in dancing," from Greek skhema (genitive skhematos) "figure, appearance, the nature of a thing," related to skhein "to get," and ekhein "to have, hold; be in a given state or condition," from PIE root *segh- "to hold."

The sense "program of action" first is attested 1640s. Unfavorable overtones (selfish, devious) began to creep in early 18c. Meaning "complex unity of coordinated component elements" is from 1736. Color scheme is attested from 1884.

scheme (v.)

"devise a scheme," 1767 (earlier "reduce to a scheme," 1716), from scheme (n.). Related: Schemed; scheming.

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Definitions of scheme
1
scheme (n.)
an elaborate and systematic plan of action;
Synonyms: strategy
scheme (n.)
a statement that evades the question by cleverness or trickery;
Synonyms: dodge / dodging
scheme (n.)
a group of independent but interrelated elements comprising a unified whole;
Synonyms: system
scheme (n.)
an internal representation of the world; an organization of concepts and actions that can be revised by new information about the world;
Synonyms: schema
scheme (n.)
a schematic or preliminary plan;
Synonyms: outline / schema
2
scheme (v.)
form intrigues (for) in an underhand manner;
Synonyms: intrigue / connive
scheme (v.)
devise a system or form a scheme for;
From wordnet.princeton.edu