fol·​low-up | \ ˈfä-lō-ˌəp How to pronounce follow-up (audio) \

Definition of follow-up

 (Entry 1 of 3)

1a : the act or an instance of following up
b : something that follows up
2 : maintenance of contact with or reexamination of a person (such as a patient) especially following treatment The surgeon scheduled a follow-up with his patient a week after the surgery.
3 : a news story presenting new information on a story published earlier A few days after the story broke, the newspaper printed a follow-up.



Definition of follow-up (Entry 2 of 3)

1 : of, relating to, or being something that follows up follow-up action by the police— Frank Faulkner had a few follow-up questions after the interview
2 : done, conducted, or administered in the course of following up persons follow-up care for discharged hospital patients

follow up

followed up; following up; follows up

Definition of follow up (Entry 3 of 3)

transitive verb

1 : to follow with something similar, related, or supplementary following up his convictions with action— G. P. Merrill She followed up her first novel with a second one.
2 : to maintain contact with (a person) so as to monitor the effects of earlier activities or treatments All patients were followed up clinically for four months.
3 : to pursue in an effort to take further action the police are following up leads

intransitive verb

: to take appropriate action follow up on complaints

Examples of follow-up in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb Tisha Crear of Recipe Oak Cliff will follow up with a pre-recorded cooking demo followed by a live Q&A on Feb. 20. Destine Gibson, Dallas News, "Black vegan chefs featured in Dallas Public Library online series this month," 1 Feb. 2021 The plans the administration has drafted follow up on the ambitious Clean Power Plan advanced during the Obama era in an effort to curb electricity sector emissions. Anchorage Daily News, "Biden orders sweeping actions to pause drilling and fight climate change," 28 Jan. 2021 Surveillance video from the area shows some leads and officers will follow up. cleveland, "Man robs woman after she returns from Christmas shopping: Fairview Park Police Blotter," 29 Dec. 2020 The two doses, each a month apart, would make the job of inoculating the public more difficult as not everyone will follow up with the second dose. Cassidy Morrison, Washington Examiner, "Stocks slip as CEOs warn of need for aid," 23 Sep. 2020 To get the coaching, parents can send email through Beech Acres' website, and a specialist will follow up. Anne Saker, The Enquirer, "Coronavirus: 5 ways for parents to prepare mentally for a school year unlike any other," 14 Aug. 2020 Last month, the government enacted a $900 billion rescue aid package, and President Joe Biden is pushing for lawmakers to follow up by approving his $1.9 trillion plan for further economic help. Martin Crutsinger, Star Tribune, "US economy shrank 3.5% in 2020 after growing 4% last quarter," 28 Jan. 2021 Pietsch reports that federal investigators contacted Jackson Reffitt on Jan. 6 to follow up on the previous tip. Abigail Rosenthal, Chron, "Texas man charged for participating in Capitol riot after son reports him to the FBI," 25 Jan. 2021 Axios’ Jonathan Swan sat across from Trump in an on-air interview and pushed for real answers with unwavering follow up questions. Sarah Midkiff,, "“Anonymous” Waited Too Long To Reveal Himself," 29 Oct. 2020

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


1916, in the meaning defined at sense 1a


1912, in the meaning defined at sense 1


1767, in the meaning defined at transitive sense 1

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The first known use of follow-up was in 1767

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Cite this Entry

“Follow-up.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 7 Mar. 2021.

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More Definitions for follow-up



English Language Learners Definition of follow-up

: something that continues or completes a process or activity


fol·​low-up | \ ˈfäl-ə-ˌwəp, ˌfäl- How to pronounce follow-up (audio) \

Medical Definition of follow-up

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: maintenance of contact with a patient at one or more designated intervals following diagnosis or treatment especially to examine again or monitor the progress of therapy also : an instance of such contact At three-month and six-month follow-ups, he had only mild, residual facial swelling on the lower left side. — Meredith August et al., The New England Journal of Medicine, 29 Dec. 2005

Other Words from follow-up

follow-up adjective
a follow-up visit follow-up care When ovarian cancer is found, better follow-up procedures and more aggressive chemotherapy are prolonging remissions, even in women with advanced disease. Mayo Clinic Health Letter, January 1992

follow up

transitive verb
\ ˌfäl-ə-ˈwəp How to pronounce follow up (audio) \

Medical Definition of follow up (Entry 2 of 2)

: to maintain contact with (a patient) at one or more designated intervals following diagnosis or treatment especially to examine again or monitor the progress of therapy patients who are followed up after their discharge She was discharged on postoperative day 4 and was followed up in the surgery clinic 19 days postoperatively.— Steven L. Bloom et al., The New England Journal of Medicine, 21 Oct. 2010

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