\ 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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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 In 2010, researchers using floating GPS units to track the trajectory of rips found that the currents often flow in circles. Chloe Williams, The Atlantic, 20 June 2022 The new architecture connects quantum processors to a common control infrastructure so that data can flow classically and in real-time between the QPU and other chips in a multi-chip environment. Paul Smith-goodson, Forbes, 18 May 2022 An examination of fundraising data filed with the City Ethics Commission reveals that nearly half of campaign donations flow from outside the city. Justin Raystaff Writer, Los Angeles Times, 10 May 2022 Most power plants, including nuclear power plants, convert rotating energy into electricity using Michael Faraday’s discovery that electrons will flow through a wire when a nearby magnet moves. Washington Post, 28 Apr. 2022 That our teaching force requires their credentials ensures that the drainage pipe will flow on. Garion Frankel, National Review, 5 Mar. 2022 Forecasters say there is a small chance that thunderstorms could flow all the way to the coast. Gary Robbins, San Diego Union-Tribune, 23 Sep. 2021 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 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun The official said there is no evidence Russia has intercepted any of the steady flow of weapons into Ukraine from the U.S. and other nations. David Keyton, John Leicester, Anchorage Daily News, 26 June 2022 The storms initiated and tracked along a north-south oriented frontal boundary and were being steered by a deep flow of wind from the north. Jeff Halverson, Washington Post, 23 June 2022 Now the Susan Thompson Buffett Foundation, an Omaha, Neb.-based charity named after Buffett’s late wife, is reportedly preparing to receive a large flow of donations from Buffett’s estate. Fortune, 22 June 2022 There is a near constant flow of foot traffic between the trailer and two nearby bodegas, and a great deal of general milling about in the street. New York Times, 21 June 2022 Lee Bontecou’s beautifully crafted sculptures and drawings, for instance, convey to me a positive flow of energy in all sorts of directions, until they are stopped by their own physical limitations. Lisa Deaderick, San Diego Union-Tribune, 18 June 2022 That is because creativity is supposed to be a free flow. Darick Spears, Rolling Stone, 17 June 2022 Added to this was Aucoin and crew‘s strong preference for somber poetry, which would frequently be read or set to music, allowing for a regular flow of darkness. Mark Swed, Los Angeles Times, 15 June 2022 The Steel City offers a healthy mix of affordable housing and good neighborhoods, with a steady flow of properties coming onto the market, Bankrate found. Khristopher J. Brooks, CBS News, 14 June 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

28 Jun 2022

Cite this Entry

“Flow.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/flow. Accessed 2 Jul. 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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