fol·​low | \ ˈfä-(ˌ)lō How to pronounce follow (audio) \
followed; following; follows

Definition of follow

 (Entry 1 of 2)

transitive verb

1 : to go, proceed, or come after followed the guide
2a : to engage in as a calling or way of life : pursue wheat-growing is generally followed here
b : to walk or proceed along follow a path
3a : to be or act in accordance with follow directions
b : to accept as authority : obey followed his conscience
4a : to pursue in an effort to overtake Police followed the robbers attempting to escape.
b : to seek to attain follow knowledge
5 : to come into existence or take place as a result or consequence of disaster followed the blunder
6a : to come or take place after in time, sequence, or order A juggling act followed the singer.
b : to cause to be followed followed dinner with a liqueur
7 : to copy after : imitate the new building follows the facades and roof lines of the original buildings— Maxwell Mays
8a : to watch steadily followed the flight of the ball
b : to keep the mind on follow a speech
c : to attend closely to : keep abreast of followed his career with interest
d : to understand the sense or logic of (something, such as a line of thought) I don't quite follow your thinking.
e : to subscribe to the feed of (someone or something) especially on social media Follow us on Facebook/Twitter.

intransitive verb

1 : to go or come after a person or thing in place, time, or sequence If one sheep goes through the gate, the rest will follow.
2 : to result or occur as a consequence, effect, or inference Just because he's done some bad things, does it follow that he is a bad person?
as follows
: as comes next used impersonally The names of the winners are as follows: Mary, James, and Sylvia.
follow one's nose
1 : to go in a straight or obvious course Just follow your nose until you get there; you can't miss it.
2 : to proceed without plan or reflection : obey one's instincts You don't need my advice—just follow your nose.
follow suit
1 : to play a card of the same suit as the card led
2 : to follow an example set When one airline lowers its fares, the others usually follow suit.



Definition of follow (Entry 2 of 2)

1 : the act or process of following
2 : forward spin given to a ball by striking it above center — compare draw, english

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Synonyms & Antonyms for follow

Synonyms: Verb

postdate, succeed, supervene

Antonyms: Verb

antedate, precede, predate

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Choose the Right Synonym for follow


follow, succeed, ensue, supervene mean to come after something or someone. follow may apply to a coming after in time, position, or logical sequence. speeches followed the dinner succeed implies a coming after immediately in a sequence determined by natural order, inheritance, election, or laws of rank. she succeeded her father as head of the business ensue commonly suggests a logical consequence or naturally expected development. after the talk a general discussion ensued supervene suggests the following or beginning of something unforeseen or unpredictable. unable to continue because of supervening circumstances

synonyms see in addition chase

Examples of follow in a Sentence


She followed us into the kitchen. The dog followed the children home. The exit is right this way. Just follow me. The children went home and the dog followed behind. If one sheep goes through the gate, the rest will follow. The number 15 follows 14. Her accident was followed by a long period of recovery. First came the student speeches, and the presentation of awards followed. Rioting followed the unjust verdict. If you work hard, success will surely follow.
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Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

Here are key area storylines to follow throughout the fall: Smithson Valley had a streak of 22 straight winning seasons snapped in 2018. Terrence Thomas,, "What are the six biggest stories going into high school football season?," 22 Aug. 2019 Woe to the punter who failed to follow a coach’s instruction to kick it out of bounds, lest Palmer catch it and return it for a touchdown. Ben Thomas |, al, " prep football ‘experts’ differ on their Mount Rushmore choices," 22 Aug. 2019 Instead of trying to follow the racing line robotically, gamers will need to read and react to the field. Gieson Cacho, The Mercury News, "Preview: Artificial intelligence fuels an identity in ‘Grid’," 21 Aug. 2019 Or Shalom, 205 Old Grassy Hill Rd, Orange, FRIDAY morning August 23,at 10:30 with Interment to follow in Beth Israel Cemetery, 855 Derby Milford Rd. Orange., "Bernard Horowitz," 21 Aug. 2019 The settlement has for 22 years governed the treatment of migrant children in U.S. custody, requiring government agencies to follow a detailed set of standards while caring for children apprehended by immigration and border agents. Graham Kates, CBS News, "Democrats condemn Trump administration effort to extend migrant detentions," 21 Aug. 2019 The service will then launch in Australia and New Zealand on November 19, with all other regions to follow within two years, according to previous statements by Disney leadership. Samuel Axon, Ars Technica, "Apple TV+ will launch in November for $9.99, facing off against Disney+ at $6.99," 20 Aug. 2019 The program begins following news of conservation and outings. La Cañada Valley Sun, "La Cañada area events," 20 Aug. 2019 This compels any wildfire to follow a zigzag path in search of fuel, travelling against the wind at least half the time. Nicola Twilley, The New Yorker, "A Trailblazing Plan to Fight California Wildfires," 19 Aug. 2019

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

The new space also offers a place for people from a number of groups who have individually taken the training to engage collaboratively in monthly follow-up cultural humility workshops. Kaitlin Mccallum,, "Kamora’s Cultural Corner bridges a divide between black, queer and intercultural communities," 4 Sep. 2019 Your friendly uniform columnist attended the unveiling of this new set back in April and provided a detailed assessment (plus some follow-up thoughts). Paul Lukas,, "Uni Watch: NFL Uniform Preview 2019," 3 Sep. 2019 Service resumed shortly after 10 p.m., a follow-up tweet said. 10:16 p.m. METRO Blue Line service update: Service is now resuming between Franklin and 46th Street Stations. Deanna Weniger, Twin Cities, "Bicyclist killed by light-rail train, shutting down part of Blue Line for a time," 2 Sep. 2019 After all, even the original story had a follow-up. Ineye Komonibo, Marie Claire, "Will Mindy Kaling's 'Four Weddings and a Funeral' Have a Season 2?," 30 Aug. 2019 Medical marijuana in Florida is not taxed, although patients have to pay for a qualified doctor visit, as well as follow-ups, and registration fees to the state. Marcia Heroux Pounds,, "What legalizing recreational marijuana would mean for Florida," 30 Aug. 2019 But after over a decade of sporadic news about Avalanches founders Robbie Chater and Tony Di Blasi recording a follow-up, Wildflower finally arrived in 2016. Al Shipley, Billboard, "Worth the Wait: The 10 Best Albums That Fans Waited Over a Decade For," 29 Aug. 2019 Award-winning Detroit chef Kate Williams is preparing to unveil the follow-up restaurant to her nationally lauded Lady of the House in Corktown. Mark Kurlyandchik, Detroit Free Press, "Lauded chef Kate Williams to debut vintage-style diner Karl's in Detroit this week," 27 Aug. 2019 His adoption fee includes his neuter surgery, current vaccinations, a microchip and a free follow-up wellness exam with a VCA Animal Hospital. Arizona Republic, azcentral, "Sumo the big kitty and more up for adoption in Phoenix-area shelters this week," 23 Aug. 2019

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'follow.' 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 follow


before the 12th century, in the meaning defined at transitive sense 1


1661, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for follow

Verb and Noun

Middle English folwen, from Old English folgian; akin to Old High German folgēn to follow

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Statistics for follow

Last Updated

25 Aug 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for follow

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

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More Definitions for follow



English Language Learners Definition of follow

: to go or come after or behind (someone or something)
: to go after or behind (someone) secretly and watch to find out what happens
: to come after (something) in time or place or as part of a series


fol·​low | \ ˈfä-lō How to pronounce follow (audio) \
followed; following

Kids Definition of follow

1 : to go or come after or behind The dog followed the children home. Dessert followed dinner.
2 : to come after in time or place Spring follows winter.
3 : to go on the track of Police followed a clue.
4 : to go along or beside Follow that path.
5 : to be led or guided by : obey Follow the instructions.
6 : to result from Panic followed the fire.
7 : to work in or at something as a way of life He followed the sea.
8 : to watch or pay attention to Just follow the bouncing ball.
9 : understand sense 1 I'm not following this story.
follow suit
1 : to play a card that belongs to the same group (as hearts) as the one first played
2 : to do the same thing someone else has just done
follow through
: to complete something started You must follow through on your promise.
follow up
: to take additional similar or related action I followed up my letter with a phone call.

Other Words from follow

follower \ ˈfäl-​ə-​wər \ noun

Legal Definition of follow

: to be in accordance with (a prior decision) : accept as authoritative — see also precedent — compare overrule

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More from Merriam-Webster on follow

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with follow

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for follow

Spanish Central: Translation of follow

Nglish: Translation of follow for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of follow for Arabic Speakers

Comments on follow

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miscellaneous remnants or debris

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