\ 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 These giants will be combined with two smaller swing gates, plus a set of vertical lift gates that stay open in normal weather to let the tides flow. Eric Bender, Wired, 26 June 2021 It's made from a soft and stretchy blend of rayon and spandex in a drapey silhouette that will let air flow through and keep you cool. Eden Lichterman, PEOPLE.com, 21 June 2021 Eve and let the words flow until the evening of New Year’s Day. Kory Grow, Rolling Stone, 14 June 2021 Set boundaries and let your energy flow through physical endeavors, while gracefully allowing others to not keep up with you when their emotions rule their mood. Amy Solara, Travel + Leisure, 14 May 2021 Think of it like a mediation: instead of pushing the feeling away, recognize it, accept it and let the thoughts flow through you. Stephanie Gray, Glamour, 18 Mar. 2021 But Michael Milshtein, a former senior Israeli military officer with extensive experience dealing with the Palestinians, said there was another reason for Mr. Abbas to go back to cooperating with Israel and let the money flow again. Adam Rasgon, New York Times, 17 Nov. 2020 To participate, let your facial hair flow and grow a mustache or beard. Allen Kim, CNN, 1 Nov. 2020 So far, remediation has targeted the return of native fish and wildlife in the area with the removal of dams, flow barriers and concrete to allow fish passage, enhanced spawning and nursery habitat. Laura Schulte, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, 7 July 2021 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun And if Lake Superior wave action creates piles of sand and rock at low-flow river mouths, young fish can't make it to the lake and adult fish can't enter the stream to spawn. Jana Hollingsworth, Star Tribune, 21 July 2021 The showers, the low-flow toilets, and minimal lighting, the company explains, are all a part of the mission. Stacey Leasca, Travel + Leisure, 21 July 2021 Many standard shower heads also now come equipped with a low-flow option. Washington Post, 7 July 2021 Then, shortly after the tap, install a full-flow ball valve. Merle Henkenius, Popular Mechanics, 25 June 2021 Phoenix isn’t shutting off water for unpaid accounts, but instead puts the households on low-flow water. Rachel Leingang, The Arizona Republic, 24 June 2021 There are three water-flow settings, including one without the flower, which may appeal to dogs more. Medea Giordan, Wired, 22 June 2021 Among them are three- and four-bedroom homes delivering flow-through floor plans and unobstructed water and city perspectives. Jeffrey Steele, Forbes, 18 June 2021 But his case was so severe that not even a ventilator or high-flow oxygen machines could help him. Ashley Killough, CNN, 16 June 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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Learn More About flow

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

23 Jul 2021

Cite this Entry

“Flow.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/flow. Accessed 24 Jul. 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


intransitive verb
\ 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

More from Merriam-Webster on 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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