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

All five teams will be in action Friday and Saturday at the annual Scout Showcase, and Sunday the league’s heavy hitters will battle in a home run derby, followed by an all-star game. Anchorage Daily News, "It’s a big week in the Alaska Baseball League," 12 July 2019 The total closing will resume July 19-22, followed by nightly closings from July 22 to July 24. Dug Begley, Houston Chronicle, "Loop 610 closing could wreck Memorial-area freeway traffic in Houston," 11 July 2019 Calhoun received an introduction Wednesday night from the wrestler (and fellow cancer survivor) Roman Reigns, followed by a video feature narrated by Ray Allen that detailed both his coaching career and his four bouts of cancer. Alex Putterman,, "Jim Calhoun accepts ‘Best Coach’ award at ESPYS ceremony," 11 July 2019 Biden leads with 26 percent, and he is followed by Warren with 19 percent. Tyler Pager,, "Biden keeps his lead as Warren gains ground in new NBC/WSJ poll," 11 July 2019 The Revolution was a time of liberation: Three states ended slavery while it was being fought, followed by four in its wake. Nr Editors, National Review, "The Week," 11 July 2019 Two sculptures will be installed this week, followed by two more next week, according to Jacobs Entertainment. USA TODAY, "Crystal Cathedral reborn Catholic, 'Conjuring' house, Wiki ‘editathon’: News from around our 50 states," 11 July 2019 That model year Fiesta was the first vehicle with the DPS6, hitting the market in March 2010, followed by the 2012 Focus, which reached dealerships in March 2011., "FREE PRESS INVESTIGATION: OUT OF GEAR Ford knew Focus, Fiesta models had flawed transmission, sold them anyway," 11 July 2019 Uber has disclosed that Los Angeles and the Bay Area are two of its top three markets in the U.S. California’s initiative, moreover, might well be followed by other states. Michael Hiltzik,, "Uber and Lyft try to blunt a court ruling that their drivers are employees," 11 July 2019

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

Call them After the initial self-response period, the Census Bureau begins a non-response follow-up phase for people who did not respond initially. NBC News, "Money, time, bad results: Citizenship question would have been a gov't nightmare," 11 July 2019 Visit the clinic for follow-ups on your ovarian reserve, the quality and quantity of your remaining eggs. Washington Post, "The maddeningly inscrutable world of IVF costs," 11 July 2019 The Europa League winners will face Irish side Bohemians in Dublin as early as Wednesday night and will remain on the Emerald Isle for a follow-up game against St Patrick's Athletic., "Cesar Azpilicueta Reveals How New Manager Frank Lampard Wants Chelsea to Play," 10 July 2019 During the study's follow-up period, a total of 2,193 first cases of cancer were diagnosed, at the average age of 59 years. Of these, 693 were breast cancers, 291 were prostate cancer cases and 166 were colorectal cancers. Nina Avramova, CNN, "A small glass of juice or soda a day is linked to increased risk of cancer, study finds," 10 July 2019 Nearly three months after her initial reimbursement email, Pace sent a follow-up to the CHA seeking to retract the $20,000 reimbursement request. Joe Mahr,, "‘A red flag’: Developers sought reimbursement for $20,000 in donations to Chicago alderman," 10 July 2019 In a follow-up conversation after his County Commission appearance, Bridgman offered a wealth of statistics underlying his bet that a high-end RV community for long-term users will put the county in a position to capitalize on a national movement., "Developer plans high-end Fowl River RV community," 9 July 2019 Ahead of the theatrical release of her Sundance darling The Farewell this weekend, director Lulu Wang has set her sights on her follow-up project. Mia Galuppo, The Hollywood Reporter, "'The Farewell' Filmmaker Lulu Wang to Direct Sci-Fi Feature 'Children of the New World'," 8 July 2019 Teams that were solidly in the postseason last year discover the follow-up sledding difficult. Kyle Fredrickson, The Denver Post, "NFL Look Ahead: Which teams will rise into playoff contenders?," 8 July 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

14 Jul 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

What made you want to look up follow? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


to form ideas or theories about something

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