Is there a word to describe the next level of action? I know there is but I can't remember the word.

For example, if plan A fails, plan B is the next level of action to take. And if plan B fails, the next level of action to take is plan C. 

So in this case, plan B is a what of plan A, and plan C is a what of plan B. The what is the word I'm trying to find. 

  • It is now more common, popular (and widely understood) to use the term Plan B itself. Keep it simple, all plans after A are Plan B in the sense of a fallback option. Since OP already has the answer in it, I am posting this as a comment.
    – Kris
    Commented Feb 8, 2012 at 6:28

1 Answer 1


The phrase "contingency plan" comes to mind first, for me. "Fallback" is another term you might find useful.

  • 2
    I've upvoted, but really I think you have your two offerings the wrong way round. If Plan A unexpectly fails and Plan B is implemented, Plan B is the fallback, even if it had never been thought of until Plan A failed. But contingency plan carries the strong implication that it was worked out long before (perhaps in parallel with Plan A), with at least some degree of expectation that Plan A might fail, or even was likely to fail. Commented Feb 8, 2012 at 0:26
  • @FumbleFingers I believe xEnOn's post implies exactly what you describe - Plan B was previously determined to be the fallback for Plan A. So, "contingency plan" does apply. Perhaps the reason this term comes to mind first for me is because I work in Information Security.
    – Iszi
    Commented Feb 8, 2012 at 0:31
  • I really couldn't say from OP's phrasing whether he specifically wants to identify the relationship between the preferred and the pre-planned alternative course of action, or a previously-unplanned one hastily conjured up when Plan A was seen to be a failure. My point is simply that fallback comfortably covers both, but contingency sits uneasy in the second scenario. Commented Feb 8, 2012 at 0:45

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