flow

verb
\ ˈflō \
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.

flow

noun

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

pour, roll, run, stream

Antonyms: Verb

back up

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Choose the Right Synonym for flow

Verb

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

With the money flowing and regulations easing, designers and hopeful travelers alike are likely to enjoy the tailwinds that the year offers. Joe Pappalardo, Popular Mechanics, "Supersonic Airliners Are About to Take Off. Again.," 7 Jan. 2019 In Meselhe’s office back in Baton Rouge, the river flowing beneath the building had risen after the recent storm, its water lapping directly below his window, the pulse of a massive living system. Nate Berg, Curbed, "Can engineering save Louisiana’s coastline?," 7 Nov. 2018 Yukata-clad staff welcome you warmly with a hot towel and tea whilst discretely whisking your luggage off to your room, leaving you to enjoy the serene surroundings, bathed in light and soothed by the sounds of flowing water. Betsy Blumenthal, Condé Nast Traveler, "The Best Hotels in the World: 2018 Readers' Choice Awards," 9 Oct. 2018 Trust that the touchiest spots and most tender desires are what wants to come undone and flow freely from your luscious loins. Bess Matassa, Teen Vogue, "Monthly Lovescopes October 2018," 3 Oct. 2018 Pick a non-white candidate and non-whites may turn out in record numbers but these poorer whites may flow out. The Economist, "Demography is not destinyBuilding a multiracial coalition is more difficult than it seems," 12 July 2018 Sounds like a great way to get people moving, outside of our meeting room, and get the blood flowing after lunch. Alissa Walker, Curbed, "Getting around the Bay Area with Chanell Fletcher," 21 Dec. 2018 But given where the money was made — in startups — there’s a sense that some of that money will flow back into the tech ecosystem, funding the next generation of entrepreneurs and IPOs. Theodore Schleifer, Recode, "The 2019 IPO class headlined by Uber will create a ton of new wealth. Will the billions go to mansions or missions?," 20 Dec. 2018 Acid reflux Acid reflux happens when acid that should stay put in your stomach goes rogue and flows back into your esophagus, the tube that connects your mouth and stomach, the Mayo Clinic says. Korin Miller, SELF, "6 Gastrointestinal Issues That Can Affect You During Pregnancy," 14 Dec. 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

Letters were the big political issue back then, but the UPU sought to embrace a lofty goal — to promote and foster the free flow of information and ideas. Jen Kirby, Vox, "Here’s why Trump threatened to pull out of a 144-year-old postal treaty," 19 Oct. 2018 Laptop deals are harder to come by than the seemingly endless flow of SSD, graphics card, and display deals. Ian Paul, PCWorld, "Deal alert: This lightweight Core i5-powered Lenovo Ideapad laptop is just $550 at Staples—$200 off," 25 Sep. 2018 Computer chips are made up of billions of transistors that switch the flow of electricity on and off in microscopic wires. Eric Smalley, Discover Magazine, "Cellular Cyborgs: How Programmable DNA Strands Might Control Healing," 25 Sep. 2018 The shape of the house is simple—just a rectangular volume—but it’s been cleverly parceled into an interesting flow of rooms and spaces, including a large outdoor patio that feels like an extension of the living room. Liz Stinson, Curbed, "Modern prefab house was constructed in a month," 28 Aug. 2018 Features excellent accents from areas of America with very cold weather, at least one famously inspiring locker room speech, and some truly impressive hockey flow. Alessandra Codinha, Vogue, "Sick of Holiday Movies? Help Is On the Way," 21 Dec. 2018 The flow regime varies between the three experiments. Chris Lee, Ars Technica, "Quark-gluon plasma reveals viscosity-free properties," 19 Dec. 2018 Breasts need constant lymphatic flow to stay healthy. Emma Sarran Webster, Teen Vogue, "Why You Don't Have to Wear a Bra," 30 Nov. 2018 Spiral: Surrounding air flows into the low-pressure zone in a spiral pattern. Douglas Fox, Popular Mechanics, "How Do Hurricanes Form? Disaster Science Explained," 10 Sep. 2018

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

Verb

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

Noun

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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Statistics for flow

Last Updated

12 Jan 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for flow

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

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More Definitions for flow

flow

verb

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

flow

noun

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

flow

verb
\ ˈflō \
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.

flow

noun

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 \

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

flow

noun

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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More from Merriam-Webster on flow

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with flow

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for flow

Spanish Central: Translation of flow

Nglish: Translation of flow for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of flow for Arabic Speakers

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about flow

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