\ 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

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 See More
Recent Examples on the Web: Verb Thus, the mixed signals on energy from this administration continue to flow and negatively impact markets. David Blackmon, Forbes, 9 June 2022 Until recently, the U.S. and EU have largely allowed Russia's oil and natural gas to continue to flow freely to the rest of the world. Fatima Hussein, ajc, 2 June 2022 July marks a turning point for the labor market, with nearly a million jobs created, as stimulus benefits and more generous unemployment continue to flow through the economy. Mike Madden And Rachel Siegel, Anchorage Daily News, 31 May 2022 July marks a turning point for the labor market, with nearly a million jobs created, as stimulus benefits and more generous unemployment continue to flow through the economy. Rachel Siegel, Washington Post, 30 May 2022 Russian oil exports continue to flow to the European Union, although the bloc has debated banning them for weeks. Patrick J. Mcdonnell, Los Angeles Times, 26 May 2022 Rain will continue to flow across the valleys, mostly in the form of showers that at times will be heavy. oregonlive, 6 May 2022 As long as the shares continue to flow, accountability is the order of the day. Jacob Carpenter, Fortune, 6 May 2022 Russian oil and gas continue to flow into Western Europe. Michael Oren, WSJ, 22 Apr. 2022 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun Maluma seamlessly weaves his charming flow into his love songs and bedroom bangers. Lucas Villa, SPIN, 10 June 2022 Brunner’s team designed the ModuleQ platform to be embedded into the collaboration platforms sellers use on a daily basis to become part of their natural flow of work. Stephen Diorio, Forbes, 6 June 2022 With the famed ’99 beat guiding his rap flow — Davidson shows up dressed as Michaels, surrounded by awards and spitting lines about the coveted producer whose face shows up as deep fakes scattered throughout the video. Thania Garcia, Variety, 22 May 2022 That coupled with her rapid-fire flow, has earned her collaborations with stars including J Balvin and Rosalía. Kate Linthicumstaff Writer, Los Angeles Times, 20 May 2022 Meanwhile, the Manduka ProLite is textured with a grid-like pattern, which is intended to prevent slipping during your flow. Sara Coughlin, SELF, 17 May 2022 Can't argue the move, but the maybe Phoenix lost its offensive flow and never fully got it back. Duane Rankin, The Arizona Republic, 16 May 2022 It is delivered by the Central Arizona Project, a 336-mile-long concrete canal that shoots off a river riddled with infrastructure directing and storing its flow. Erin Patrick O'connor, Washington Post, 14 May 2022 Alone fans are accustomed to the typical ebb and flow of a season. Frederick Dreier, Outside Online, 26 May 2022 See More

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.

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


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

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Last Updated

17 Jun 2022

Cite this Entry

“Flow.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/flow. Accessed 25 Jun. 2022.

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More Definitions for flow


\ 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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