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

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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

Take a lesson from Blake Lively's famous flowing tresses for graduation day. Victoria Rodriguez, Seventeen, "13 Graduation Hairstyles That Will Still Look Cute Under Your Grad Cap," 9 Apr. 2019 Model Behati Prinsloo rocked her new pinkish-red ombre do while vacationing amongst palm trees, and icon Naomi Campbell shared a glowing seaside selfie comprised of flowing mermaid lengths and mini braids. Akili King, Vogue, "The Best Beauty Instagrams of the Week: Jorja Smith, Emily Ratajkowski, and More," 7 Apr. 2019 Nautical details popped up on the models' feet at shows like Milly and Ulla Johnson, paired with flowing dresses and skirts. Marina Liao, Marie Claire, "7 Shoe Trends of 2019 You're Going to Want to Pay Attention To," 7 Jan. 2019 French country uses furniture to add a flowing feel to a room. Sienna Fantozzi, House Beautiful, "Everything You Need To Know About French Country Design," 9 Nov. 2018 The classic Hunter house is relatively closed and single-story on the driveway side, but round the back, the ground drops away, turning the flowing living spaces into year-round landscape paintings. Alexandra Lange, Curbed, "Meet the Hunters, Vermont’s modernist-house pioneers," 9 Aug. 2018 Small overhangs push the vehicle’s massive wheels to the corners, and flowing lines stretch from the perky front fenders to the arching rear haunches. Bradley Berman, Popular Mechanics, "The Jaguar I-PACE and the Juiced-Up Future of Going Off-Road," 25 June 2018 The stands were filled with college baseball scouts, all waiting to see Luke Leto, the 14-year-old with the long flowing hair and the 90 mile-per-hour fastball. Detroit Free Press, "Meet Luke Leto, Michigan's best baseball prospect since Derek Jeter," 24 June 2018 Toward the end of his life Unger, sporting a flowing white beard and well-off financially thanks to his handcrafted jewelry business, sought sanctuary in the idea of living simply. J.d. Gallop, Sun-Sentinel.com, "Nearly half a dozen people have died in Walmart parking lots in Brevard County since 2015," 24 June 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

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 The flow largely stopped after a March 2016 deal with Turkey, which agreed to accept the return of people who had entered Greece illegally in return for 6 billion euros in aid. Fortune, "Why European Tension Is Rising Over Migrants (Again)," 23 June 2018 The flow of European venture capital hit its highest level for a decade last year, according to Invest Europe, a trade association for the industry. The Economist, "Business this week," 23 June 2018 Back then, Venice installed crowd-control turnstiles, which limit the flow of people into the city center during periods of overcrowding. Chloe Foussianes, Town & Country, "The City of Venice Will Soon Start Charging Tourists an Entrance Fee," 4 Mar. 2019 Loading a skyscraper full of highly combustible materials and then igniting one end without creating a cascading explosion that would kill everyone on board proved more difficult than simply managing fuel flow into the engine. Alex Hollings, Popular Mechanics, "The Saturn V Story: From Nazi Roots to America's Moon Rocket," 6 Feb. 2019

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

20 Apr 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

Comments on flow

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