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 impersonallyThe 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

Antonyms: Verb

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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

Verb 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 When asked about the circumstances under which school officers could use force on students, Andrea Rittgers, director of student services, said that’s up to police, who follow different policies than school staff does., "A Wisconsin teen's death behind bars reveals how children get trapped in the justice system -- and how we can stop the cycle," 23 Oct. 2020 As in Mildred Pierce, almost all the events that follow that (misleading) opening scene is a flashback. Washington Post, "‘Gone Girl’ is far from gone: The blockbuster thriller continues to infect the genre," 23 Oct. 2020 Stocky says that Facebook’s search effort is currently focused on users but acknowledges that advertisers will likely follow. Steven Levy, Wired, "The DOJ Is Fighting Google on a Shifting Battlefield," 23 Oct. 2020 The other bit of good news is that, should this commission follow tradition and produce a set of deeply unpopular recommendations, they will likely simply be ignored. Alex Shephard, The New Republic, "Joe Biden and the Return of the Dreaded Bipartisan Commission," 23 Oct. 2020 The caller said the car continued across Sprague Road onto West River Road and could not follow it any longer. cleveland, "Victim seeks help on social media to find hit-skip suspect: Olmsted Falls Police Blotter," 23 Oct. 2020 Some restaurants and bars in Illinois are promising to stay open despite threats from Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker to shut down establishments that don't follow guidelines and closure orders. Paul Best, Fox News, "Illinois bars, restaurants rebel against governor's closure orders," 23 Oct. 2020 But why does that mean PSU and UP can’t follow careful protocols and begin to practice? John Canzano, oregonlive, "Canzano: Oregon Gov. Kate Brown absent and out to lunch on college basketball stance," 23 Oct. 2020 The health department said that in purple counties there is severe exposure and spread so residents should only leave home for supplies and services and follow guidelines for lowers levels. Sarah Brookbank, The Enquirer, "Coronavirus in Ohio: What it means if your county turns purple," 23 Oct. 2020 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun Her follow-up is an intellectually stimulating gem, a timely novel that won’t feel any less beguiling as the years pass. Kevin Canfield, Star Tribune, "Review: 'A Lover's Discourse,' by Xiaolu Guo," 23 Oct. 2020 There were no irregularities in the Derby day samples but a Class C medication was identified in one Oaks sample and a follow-up investigation was being conducted. Shannon Russell, The Courier-Journal, "Bob Baffert-trained horse tests positive for banned substance for second time since May," 23 Oct. 2020 In comments submitted to the advisory committee, ECRI's Dr. Marcus Schabacker said FDA should require six months of follow-up. Arkansas Online, "U.S. regulators, experts take up thorny vaccine study issues," 22 Oct. 2020 Such a communication need not be limited to the contractor — it can be shared with his or her supervisor and the inevitable follow-up from the company’s sales department about your level of satisfaction. Washington Post, "Miss Manners: Couple’s response to simple question leaves kid baffled," 21 Oct. 2020 Cockscomb was the over-the-top, offal-loving follow-up to Cosentino’s former San Francisco restaurant Incanto, which catapulted him to national fame. Janelle Bitker,, "Cockscomb, Chris Cosentino’s only San Francisco restaurant, is actually permanently closing," 21 Oct. 2020 Mariko said in a follow-up email and Facebook post that those who turned around before experiencing the event would be offered refunds. Patrick Connolly,, "The Haunted Road attraction bungles opening with long waits, angry customers — but vows to improve," 2 Oct. 2020 That was followed a couple years later by follow-up record Helplessness Blues, but the band went on hiatus from 2013-2016 while Pecknold completed an undergraduate degree. Christian Holub,, "Fleet Foxes to mark autumnal equinox with surprise album and short film," 21 Sep. 2020 Embassy spokeswoman Rebecca Ross gave a sparse account of the incident, which took place at 4:20 p.m. local time, although in a follow-up tweet said that the individual had been taken into custody. Joel Gehrke, Washington Examiner, "Russian drunk driver crashes into US ambassador's residence gate," 18 Sep. 2020

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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Time Traveler for follow

Time Traveler

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

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Statistics for follow

Last Updated

27 Oct 2020

Cite this Entry

“Follow.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 31 Oct. 2020.

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More Definitions for follow


How to pronounce follow (audio)

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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