Plan B

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Plan B is an idiom that seems to have originated in the United States, though exactly when the phrase was invented is in dispute. We will examine the meaning of the idiom plan B, where it came from, and some examples of its use in sentences.

Plan B refers to an alternative, a contingency plan in case the first plan does not work out. Plan B is usually employed after the first plan fails to produce the desired results or if the first plan is deemed unacceptable for some reason. The idiom plan B comes from the fact that people working on projects of all types often devise several solutions to a problem, which will be discussed before the plan to execute is chosen. In the military or in business, planners often have a backup plan known as plan B, in case the original plan fails or does not meet expectations. The idiom plan B is often used when in fact, no alternative plan is in place. The phrase simply means that an alternative method must be tried. Note that the B in plan B is capitalized, but not the word plan.


He lost that vote by 16, which is why he was forced to go to Plan B: Seeking immediately to ram through approval legislation with virtually no debate as if it were a decree, in defiance of all precedent and convention. (The New European)

Forced to hit the brakes on their Haden Hicks-offense in the first game when the versatile senior suffered a season-ending injury, the Mustangs went to Plan B: A sophomore who last started a game at quarterback in grade school. (The Yakima Herald-Republic)

At halftime, our talk with the team was, ‘We either have to fix this or we need to go to Plan B. What do you want to do? (The Arizona Daily Star)

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