My cousin just keeps on planning that we will go here, do this, do that..... but it never happens. And in the next meet also the same cycle repeats. So I was just wondering what is the appropriate word for the things that are planned but never happen?

  • 1
    @Lawrence How about... "You're always planning something and never do it! It's all just a ________, isn't it!"
    – Andrew Leach
    Jun 14 at 12:34
  • 1
    What makes people think that English has a one-word for anything they could imagine? That's what phrases and clauses and sentences are for. Jun 14 at 14:08
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    @JohnLawler 'What makes people think that English has a one-word for anything they could imagine?' I don't know, but there should be a word for it.
    – Spagirl
    Jun 14 at 14:41
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    Pie-in-the-sky, though that's longer than scam or crock. Jun 14 at 15:12
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    It sounds more like an unkept promise. As an adjective, unfulfilled and unrealized are related, as in "unrealized plan". It would depend on the context and the type of word.
    – ermanen
    Jun 14 at 19:26

4 Answers 4



a wish or inclination not strong enough to lead to action.

  • the notion intrigued me, but remained a velleity

Definition supplied by Lexico

  • Actually this a good guess. Unfortunately, I've never heard this word before and I don't think many others will have either, so I'm not sure how useful this answer is. Still... +1
    – Mari-Lou A
    Jun 17 at 14:23

Hypothetical plan? :P No, I'm kidding. I would say the word would describe your cousin rather than the plans he keeps repeating.

The first word that comes to mind is "flakey" which is slang - the non-slang terminology for it is undependable, basically. Another way to describe him (meaning the same thing, just a different word) would be to call him unreliable or fickle.

If you didn't want to be overly harsh or rude, you could say he's uncertain, indecisive, unpredictable, or inconsistent.

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    – Community Bot
    Jun 15 at 5:47

You could use warhorse.



3: [often premodified by 'old'] something ([perhaps] a work of art or musical composition) that has become overly familiar or hackneyed due to much repetition in the standard repertoire [/course of events]

[Merriam-Webster; adjusted slightly]

Usually used in the arts, but readily transferrable:

  • Is the Atlantic City boardwalk and beach safe at night?

  • Oh, my goodness, not this old warhorse again. It's been debunked on this forum many times. Hint: crime figures are compared to the city's population, but don't take into account the number of visitors to the city.

[ShiannM; Trip Advisor ... Forum] (punctuation corrected)


I think the word materialize is more apt in this context. It means:

to begin to happen or exist : to occur or become real — usually used in negative statements

For example, She was promised a promotion but it never materialized. Source: https://www.britannica.com/dictionary/materialize

So, maybe you mean: We had planned a vacation together, but the plan did not materialize.

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    – Laurel
    Jun 15 at 14:17
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    – Community Bot
    Jun 15 at 15:52

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