flow

1 of 2

verb

flowed; flowing; flows

intransitive verb

1
a(1)
: to issue or move in a stream
rivers flow into the sea
(2)
b
: to move with a continual change of place among the constituent particles
molasses flows slowly
water flowing over the dam
2
: rise
the tide ebbs and flows
3
: abound
a land flowing with natural resources
4
a
: to proceed smoothly and readily
conversation flowed easily
b
: to have a smooth continuity
the flowing lines of the car
5
: to hang loose and billowing
her gown flowed around her
6
: to derive from a source : come
the wealth that flows from trade
7
: to deform under stress without cracking or rupturing
used especially of minerals and rocks
8

transitive verb

1
: to cause to flow
flowing oil over the swamp to kill mosquito larvae
2
: to discharge in a flow
The new oil well flowed 100 barrels a day.

flow

2 of 2

noun

plural flows
1
: an act of flowing
2
b
: flood sense 2
the tide's ebb and flow
3
a
: a smooth uninterrupted movement or progress
a flow of information
b
: stream
also : a mass of material which has flowed when molten
an old lava flow
c
: the direction of movement or development
go with the flow
4
: the quantity that flows in a certain time
a gauge that measures fuel flow
5
6
a
: the motion characteristic of fluids
b
: a continuous transfer of energy
7
chiefly African American English : a rapper's lyrical delivery as characterized by cadence, speed, volume, rhyme, etc.
… [Cardi B's] flow is so relentless that for nearly three minutes she doesn't offer listeners a single moment to catch their breath.Lindsay Zoladz
Having a great flow is the skill that can elevate an average rapper to a highly talented one.Robby Seabrook III
Choose the Right Synonym for flow

spring, arise, rise, originate, derive, flow, issue, emanate, proceed, stem mean to come up or out of something into existence.

spring implies rapid or sudden emerging.

an idea that springs to mind

arise and rise may both convey the fact of coming into existence or notice but rise often stresses gradual growth or ascent.

new questions have arisen
slowly rose to prominence

originate implies a definite source or starting point.

the fire originated in the basement

derive implies a prior existence in another form.

the holiday derives from an ancient Roman feast

flow adds to spring a suggestion of abundance or ease of inception.

words flowed easily from her pen

issue suggests emerging from confinement through an outlet.

blood issued from the cut

emanate applies to the coming of something immaterial (such as a thought) from a source.

reports emanating from the capital

proceed stresses place of origin, derivation, parentage, or logical cause.

advice that proceeds from the best of intentions

stem implies originating by dividing or branching off from something as an outgrowth or subordinate development.

industries stemming from space research

Examples of flow in a Sentence

Verb rivers flowing into the sea She opened the faucet and the water began to flow freely. a device that measures the amount of electricity flowing through a circuit Traffic has been flowing smoothly from east to west. The grain flowed smoothly down the elevator chute. Requests have flowed into the office. Money has continued to flow in. Noun a sudden flow of tears a steady flow of traffic The doctor was trying to stop the flow of blood. We want to encourage the free flow of ideas. the westward flow of settlers We've been receiving a constant flow of phone calls. measuring blood flow to the brain
Recent Examples on the Web
Verb
The campgrounds have ample shade provided by Redwood and Sycamore trees, an 80-foot waterfall flowing from granite cliffs into the ocean, and panoramic coastline views. Nora Colomer, Fox News, 14 May 2024 While TikTok did make sweeping promises that Project Texas would sequester Americans' data from the company's Chinese headquarters, reports have indicated that data still flows between TikTok's U.S. personnel and those in China. Bobby Allyn, NPR, 14 May 2024 See all Example Sentences for flow 

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'flow.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History

Etymology

Verb

Middle English, from Old English flōwan; akin to Old High German flouwen to rinse, wash, Latin pluere to rain, Greek plein to sail, float

First Known Use

Verb

before the 12th century, in the meaning defined at intransitive sense 1a(1)

Noun

15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Time Traveler
The first known use of flow was before the 12th century

Dictionary Entries Near flow

Cite this Entry

“Flow.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/flow. Accessed 25 May. 2024.

Kids Definition

flow

1 of 2 verb
1
: to move in a stream
2
: rise entry 1 sense 5a
the tide ebbs and flows
3
: to glide or pass smoothly and readily
4
: to hang loose and waving
her gown flowed around her
5
: to come from as a source
money that flows from trade
flowingly adverb

flow

2 of 2 noun
1
: an act of flowing
2
b
: the flowing in of the tide
the tide's ebb and flow
3
a
: a smooth even movement
b
: a mass of matter that has flowed when melted
a lava flow
4
: the quantity that flows in a certain time
the flow of water over a dam

Medical Definition

flow

1 of 2 intransitive verb
1
: to move with a continual change of place among the constituent particles
blood flows toward the heart in veins
2

flow

2 of 2 noun
1
: the quantity that flows in a certain time
2
3
: the motion characteristic of fluids

More from Merriam-Webster on flow

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