\ ˈflō How to pronounce flow (audio) \
flowed; flowing; flows

Definition of flow

 (Entry 1 of 2)

intransitive verb

1a(1) : to issue or move in a stream rivers flow into the sea
(2) : circulate
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
4a : 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

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.



Definition of flow (Entry 2 of 2)

1 : an act of flowing
b : flood sense 2 the tide's ebb and flow
3a : 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
6a : the motion characteristic of fluids
b : a continuous transfer of energy

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Synonyms & Antonyms for flow

Synonyms: Verb

Antonyms: Verb

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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
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Recent Examples on the Web: Verb Instead of the traditional open house where dozens of people flow in at their leisure and can stay for hours, pandemic rules limit showings to one group at a time. Andrew Khouri, Los Angeles Times, "Found your California dream home? Good luck with that — it may be gone by tomorrow," 23 Apr. 2021 First of all, get all people managers to listen to the needs of the team in the field and on the frontlines and provide a way for information about risks and safety to flow in daily. Expert Panel®, Forbes, "10 Tips To Help Small Businesses Create A Safe And Healthy Workplace," 21 Apr. 2021 In most of these virtual events, there’s just not enough of a shared sense of purpose to make things flow naturally. Megan Greenwell, Wired, "Help! How Do I Plan a Virtual Work Hang That's Actually Fun?," 21 Apr. 2021 Carve the chicken directly over the croutons and let the juices flow. Star Tribune, "Sunday supper: Buttermilk Roasted Chicken With Crunchy Croutons," 16 Apr. 2021 The event also features food and live performances by accordionist Carrie King and flow artist Fiercely Serene. cleveland, "13 things to do in Greater Cleveland this weekend, April 15-18," 15 Apr. 2021 Perched on her doorstep in the shadow of Windsor Castle, beautician Jenny Dacey-Gale, 41, sat with her Shih Tzu dog, Honey, watching the crowds flow. NBC News, "Mourners pay respects to Prince Philip as a royal and neighbor," 9 Apr. 2021 The 11,000 square-foot home comes with an open-air feel thanks to its sliding walls that open completely up to let the Hawaiian breezes flow through. Stacey Leasca, Travel + Leisure, "This $10,000 per Night Maui Estate Sits on One of America's Most Beautiful Beaches — and Sleeps 16," 6 Apr. 2021 Transformations in logistics, regulations and maritime trade have enabled fossil fuels to flow faster still and with even fewer disruptions. Kate Aronoff, The New Republic, "Fossil Fuel Companies Are Job Killers," 5 Apr. 2021 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun Since at least half of older people are taking medications that can affect blood flow and blood pressure, medications are a frequent culprit, but obviously need evaluation before they are adjusted. Dr. Keith Roach, oregonlive, "Dear Doctor: Am I just light-headed or is this something more dangerous?," 27 Apr. 2021 But the good news is that exercise can increase brain blood flow. Gretchen Reynolds, Star Tribune, "Walking makes strides in improving thinking," 23 Apr. 2021 This also stimulates blood flow which is going to encourage your hair follicles, so just picture that and really get into it. Nicola Fumo, Forbes, "I Had Dull, Lifeless Hair—Until This Shampoo Transformed My Strands," 21 Apr. 2021 The vascular neck restraint puts pressure on the carotid arteries, reducing blood flow to the brain. Andrew Wolfson, The Courier-Journal, "Can Louisville police kneel on your neck or use a chokehold? What their policy allows," 20 Apr. 2021 The artery that supplies the brainstem — the master controller of the body’s functions like breathing and heart rate — was blocked by a clot, and the blood flow to the cerebellum at the back of the brain was blocked. Adam Goldman, New York Times, "Officer Attacked in Capitol Riot Died of Strokes, Medical Examiner Rules," 19 Apr. 2021 Studies show that the nitrates in beets can also help increase blood flow to the frontal lobes of the brain, which can boost brain health and help prevent cognitive decline. Katy Severson, chicagotribune.com, "How to make beet juice," 17 Apr. 2021 That combination is unusual; normally clotting is not associated with low platelets, but in this condition, the body develops antibodies that lower platelet levels and as a result can block blood flow. Alice Park, Time, "Pause on J&J Vaccination in U.S. Continues as CDC Committee Asks for More Data," 15 Apr. 2021 Those within this tier who are dubbed Heartrenders can control blood flow and heart rate, and are trained to kill someone on the spot. Nick Romano, EW.com, "Into the Grishaverse: A beginner's guide to Netflix's Shadow and Bone," 14 Apr. 2021

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'flow.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of flow


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


15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for flow

Verb and Noun

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

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Time Traveler for flow

Time Traveler

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

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Statistics for flow

Last Updated

30 Apr 2021

Cite this Entry

“Flow.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/flow. Accessed 11 May. 2021.

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More Definitions for flow



English Language Learners Definition of flow

 (Entry 1 of 2)

of liquid, gas, or electricity : to move in a steady and continuous way
: to move in a continuous and smooth way
: to move, come, or go continuously in one direction



English Language Learners Definition of flow (Entry 2 of 2)

: an act of flowing : the movement of something that is flowing
: a large area of mud or some other material that is flowing or that was formed by flowing
: the amount of something that flows in a certain time


\ ˈflō How to pronounce flow (audio) \
flowed; flowing

Kids Definition of flow

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : to move in or as if in a stream The river flows to the sea. She felt relief flow through her.
2 : to glide along smoothly Traffic is flowing on the highway.
3 : to hang loose and waving Her hair flowed down.



Kids Definition of flow (Entry 2 of 2)

1 : an act of moving in or as if in a stream a flow of tears a flow of praise
2 : the rise of the tide the ebb and flow of the tide
3 : a smooth even movement : stream the flow of conversation a flow of information
4 : an amount or mass of something moving in a stream blood flow
\ ˈflō How to pronounce flow (audio) \

Medical Definition of flow

 (Entry 1 of 2)

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



Medical Definition of flow (Entry 2 of 2)

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

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