fol·​low | \ˈfä-(ˌ)lō \
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

The Stoxx Europe 600 was up 1.1% in early trading Friday from a two-year low, following its biggest daily loss since late June 2016, around the time of the Brexit vote. Riva Gold, WSJ, "Stocks Show Signs of Steadying Ahead of Jobs Report," 7 Dec. 2018 In general, target is also rumored to have markdown patterns that follow a schedule. Alex Watt, Redbook, "The Best Days for Holiday Shopping Deals Beyond Black Friday," 3 Dec. 2018 Final pricing hasn’t been announced yet, but deliveries of Rivian’s electric pickup are set to begin in late 2020, while the R1S SUV will follow along closely in early 2021. Kraig Becker, Popular Mechanics, "Rivian's Electric Truck and SUV Are Built to Tackle the Great Outdoors," 27 Nov. 2018 This means that female faculty members are able to encourage others to follow in their footsteps and enter higher education, and that more women become part of the decision-making process in academic institutions. Amy Mackelden, Harper's BAZAAR, "Meghan Markle's First Royal Tour Speech Was an Emotional Call for Female Empowerment," 24 Oct. 2018 This means that female faculty members are able to encourage others to follow in their footsteps and enter higher-education, and that more women become part of the decision-making process in academic institutions. Chloe Foussianes, Town & Country, "Meghan Markle's First Speech on the Royal Tour Centered Around the Importance of Women's Education," 24 Oct. 2018 The company may want to ensure its authorized service providers are using the proper repair components and following procedure. Valentina Palladino, Ars Technica, "Apple’s T2 chip will block some third-party repairs of new devices," 13 Nov. 2018 Detective Pikachu follows a young man named Tim (Justice Smith), whose father has gone mysteriously missing. Megan Farokhmanesh, The Verge, "Detective Pikachu trailer proves pokémon shouldn’t be realistic," 12 Nov. 2018 Learn to master the first date and never let your nerves get in the way again by following these 7 tips! Seventeen, "7 Tips to Rock Your First Date!," 30 Oct. 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

Their follow-up class for 2019 is shaping up quite nicely too. Adam Jude, The Seattle Times, "College football’s early signing period begins in one week. Here’s where things stand with 5-star WR Kyle Ford and the Huskies’ 2019 recruiting class," 12 Dec. 2018 The duo worked together on a few short films on Kimberly's YouTube channel, including a follow-up story for Daniel's Halloweentown character, Kal. Hannah Orenstein, Seventeen, "27 Celebrities Who Dated Their Co-Stars IRL," 7 Dec. 2018 After making a speech at a convention, Laurie Guest was taken aback by off-topic questions from an interviewer during a follow-up Q&A session. Sue Shellenbarger, WSJ, "How to Overcome Your Terror of Making an Off-the-Cuff Speech," 3 Dec. 2018 The cartoon is a follow-up to the viral one Ramsey first drew for Barbara’s death in April. Tess Kornfeld, Glamour, "Jenna Bush Hager Remembers Her Grandfather, Former President George H. W. Bush, in a Touching Tribute," 1 Dec. 2018 At a follow-up news briefing this week, Indonesian officials tried to counter the impression that the plane may have been rushed back into service on the day of the accident flight without adequate testing. Barbara S. Peterson, Popular Mechanics, "If the Lion Air Jet Was "Unairworthy," Then Why Was It Allowed To Fly?," 29 Nov. 2018 The next week, people flocked back for the free follow-up classes Stephaine had scheduled at the church, and so began ChurchFIT International, a whole wellness initiative that gives the public access to resources that help them get healthier. Marty Munson, Woman's Day, "One Woman Is Changing Lives By Bringing Health and Fitness to Church," 15 Nov. 2018 This year's Elitebook x360 1030 is the follow-up to last year's model and will replace the 1020 model in the Elitebook lineup. Valentina Palladino, Ars Technica, "HP Elitebook x360 1030 review: Small tweaks made to a stylish work 2-in-1," 16 Nov. 2018 In Molly Tanzer’s latest novel, a follow-up to last year’s Creatures of Will and Temper, Amityville baywoman Ellie West is a bootlegger avoiding prohibition agents and monsters in the midst of the 1920s. Andrew Liptak, The Verge, "11 new sci-fi and fantasy books to check out in late November," 15 Nov. 2018

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


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


see follow entry 1

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Statistics for follow

Last Updated

15 Dec 2018

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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 \
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

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