flow

verb
\ 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.

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

The reason that more money flows to the federal government from New York than from, say, Mississippi is because far more wealthy people with far higher incomes live in New... WSJ, "Responding to Gov. Cuomo on Tax Fairness," 5 Apr. 2019 Algorithms made judgements on who to pay attention to (ranking people who hung around longer higher than those who just arrived, for example), while the robots’ motions flowed from one arm to the next like ripples in a pond. James Vincent, The Verge, "Teaching robots body language offers common ground for humans and machines," 11 Nov. 2018 Those millions, effectively untaxed gifts, then flowed to All County’s owners — Donald Trump, his siblings and a cousin. Matthew Yglesias, Vox, "Seriously, we need to see Donald Trump’s tax returns," 3 Oct. 2018 It was revealed that neckties squeezed the arteries of those wearing the neckties, reducing the level blood flowing to the brain. Deasia Paige, Detroit Free Press, "Study: Your necktie could be reducing blood flow to your brain," 9 July 2018 In the last few years, researchers analyzing winds both on Earth and on other planets have detected signatures of energy flowing to larger scales, the telltale sign of two-dimensional turbulence. Joshua Sokol, WIRED, "Flattened Fluids Help Scientists Understand Oceans and Atmospheres," 7 July 2018 But most of the revenue flows to American companies that supply computer chips and other technology. Joe Mcdonald, The Christian Science Monitor, "US tariffs could spur tech development in China," 5 July 2018 The presentation flowed gracefully from Samo to the East 12th Street material through to the danse macabre of his last major works. Stephen Metcalf, The Atlantic, "Jean-Michel Basquiat Is Still an Enigma," 24 June 2018 In recent days, the Boise River's flows have decreased as demand for irrigation increases, bringing flows to about 900 cubic feet per second on Thursday afternoon. Nicole Blanchard, idahostatesman, "Grab your rafts, Boise. River float season starts this weekend.," 21 June 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

Operators of tankers and of the bulk carriers that haul industrial raw materials, grains and other commodities may see trade flows shift direction but won’t see business diminish as long as Chinese demand holds up. Costas Paris, WSJ, "Trade Battle Looks Set to Roil Container Shipping," 14 May 2019 From the feathered edges to the way the train flows, Cardi was basically a walking uterus. Brittney Mcnamara, Teen Vogue, "Cardi B's Met Gala 2019 Outfit Is Basically an Ode to Menstruation," 7 May 2019 Ashtanga is a style of yoga that links breath to movement, similar to a vinyasa flow class, but is faster-moving, more specifically structured, and has earned a reputation for being somewhat intense. Hannah Chenoweth, SELF, "The 9 Best YouTube Yoga Channels I Discovered While Practicing Yoga at Home for 6 Years," 5 May 2019 The tent also achieves an impressive balance by combining mesh walls with sturdy panels to encourage great air flow, but also give you privacy and protection against foul weather. James Lynch, Popular Mechanics, "This Spring’s 11 Best Camping Tents," 1 May 2019 On one trip turned horror show, I was caught off guard yet again and had to spend a 10-hour transatlantic flight with toilet paper balled up in my underwear, afraid to get up and walk around in case my flow decided to truly burst forth. Krystin Arneson, Glamour, "Why Does It Seem Like I Always Get My Period While Traveling?," 8 Apr. 2019 On this standout cut from her album GREY Area, Little Simz matches the track’s menacing beat with her own equally debilitating flow, making for a fiery, twisted rap miracle. Natalie Maher, Harper's BAZAAR, "The Best Songs to Listen to This Summer," 27 Mar. 2019 Such underground flows of knowledge from more- to less-privileged universities are not new. Joe Karaganis, Washington Post, "Russia is building a new Napster — but for academic research," 13 July 2018 The flare-up is also an uncomfortable reminder for mainstream parties of how fragile the political situation remains, even as the actual flow of migrants has ebbed. Sara Miller Llana, The Christian Science Monitor, "In Merkel's moment of crisis, a chance to seize middle ground on migration?," 27 June 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

18 May 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 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.

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 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

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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