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 Both smaller and larger electric models are going to follow, CEO Håkan Samuelsson told Car and Driver. Mike Duff, Car and Driver, "XC90 Could Be the Last Internal-Combustion Volvo as EVs Proliferate," 9 Oct. 2020 Parts of Queens and Brooklyn have faced tighter restrictions due to spikes in cases there, and de Blasio said the pause could last as little as two weeks if residents follow the restrictions., "Trump Backs Big Stimulus; France Hits New Record: Virus Update," 9 Oct. 2020 Dafoe convincingly carries the weight of a person who desires to be excited in every moment and struggles not to follow every whim. Will Coviello,, "Willem Dafoe is a troubled filmmaker trying to get his life together in Abel Ferrara's 'Tommaso'," 9 Oct. 2020 Franchised locations, like the ones in question, were encouraged to follow similar procedures as a best practice, however, doing so was at the discretion of each hotel’s owner, unless required by law. David Oliver, USA TODAY, "'No way this room was sanitized': Despite assurances, hotels get mixed reviews on COVID-19 cleanliness, masks," 9 Oct. 2020 Working through it With the SEC, ACC and Big 12 already playing and the Big Ten to follow in two weeks, a small slice of normalcy has returned to college football. Randy Johnson, Star Tribune, "Virus touches college football at every level from upending schedules to making coaches ill," 9 Oct. 2020 And that's when Gough says Roddie Bryan decided to follow along. CBS News, "Explosive texts found on phone of suspect in Georgia jogger murder case," 9 Oct. 2020 But what never ceases to follow a period of restriction is a period of binge-eating. Natalie Johnson, NBC News, "This is what it's like coping with an eating disorder during COVID-19," 9 Oct. 2020 What the investigators were finding, the summary said, was inconsistencies with Hankison's account of Taylor's death and his failure to follow LMPD rules governing police shootings. Tessa Duvall, The Courier-Journal, "Report: Police major in charge of Breonna Taylor officers pressured investigators," 9 Oct. 2020 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun Individuals who test positive will check in daily with athletic trainers and remain in isolation, along with further testing and a physical follow-up before returning to workouts or practice. Chris Solari, Detroit Free Press, "Michigan State alters, adds COVID testing with Big Ten football's daily requirement," 9 Oct. 2020 The $50 million in Supplemental Employer Recovery Grants, funded with federal pandemic relief dollars, comes as a follow-up to the state’s $283 million Business Relief Program, which distributed 26,774 payments. Vivian Jones, Washington Examiner, "Tennessee allocates $50M for additional small business relief grants," 8 Oct. 2020 Prosecutors have asked police to do investigative follow-up in another 18 cases. oregonlive, "Multnomah County DA declines to prosecute 70% of Portland protest cases," 8 Oct. 2020 And that would not have been the basis for CIA to refer that report to the FBI for follow-up investigation, for possible criminal activity. CBS News, "Former CIA Director John Brennan on ethics of intelligence, challenges to democracy," 7 Oct. 2020 November ballot is a follow-up to the one creating the commission. Washington Post, "Protesters want to defund police. Homicides and violence are spiking. In Oakland, ideology and practicality collide.," 7 Oct. 2020 Two months of follow-up after that second shot would be Oct. 23. Elizabeth Weise, USA TODAY, "A COVID-19 vaccine by Election Day? Here are the 3 things that would need to happen, and soon.," 7 Oct. 2020 Here Again albums, and the follow-up to the latter never materializing. Andrew Unterberger, Billboard, "Forever No. 1: Johnny Nash's 'I Can See Clearly Now'," 7 Oct. 2020 One of the most significant elements of those guidelines—and one that would almost certainly delay a vaccine till past Election Day—is that follow-up period for trial participants before the FDA even considers an experimental treatment. Sy Mukherjee, Fortune, "Trump wants a COVID vaccine before Election Day, but fewer Americans are saying they’ll get one," 6 Oct. 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

15 Oct 2020

Cite this Entry

“Follow.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 25 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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