fol·​low-up | \ˈfä-lō-ˌəp \

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


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

Heat President Pat Riley said after last month's NBA Draft that Ellington would be a priority in free agency, following up on that vow later in free agency than some expected. Ira Winderman,, "Wayne Ellington agrees to return to Miami Heat on one-year deal," 13 July 2018 Officials followed up by blocking dozens of VPN services and asking Apple and Google to remove Telegram from their Russian app stores. Jacob Silverman, Longreads, "Private Telegram, Public Strife," 3 July 2018 Six months later the account was followed up by another, also involving Navy pilots, that reportedly took place in 2015. Kyle Mizokami, Popular Mechanics, "70 Years and Counting, the UFO Phenomenon Is as Mysterious As Ever," 2 July 2018 Once the conversation was complete, John made a note to himself to follow up on possibly changing the timing of our career reviews based on the feedback that was provided to him in that class. Fortune, "Kimley-Horn," 26 June 2018 Free Press Houston’s Alex Wukman wrote an extensive piece on the bar back in 2011 while the building was lying dormant, with Outsmart following up later that year with a story of its own. Craig Hlavaty, Houston Chronicle, "Memories of murals outside departed Montrose gay bar Mary's still live on," 22 June 2018 After nearly 10 years, the triple-threat will once again return to host the 2018 BET Awards for his second time this Sunday, following up last year’s host Leslie Jones. Lauren Alvarez, Billboard, "Jamie Foxx Talks Preparing for This Year's BET Awards, Kanye West & 'F---ed Up' Politics," 21 June 2018 Spanish reporters said the king planned to invite the president to visit Spain, following up on the invitation from former Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy during his visit to the White House last September. Maria Puente, USA TODAY, "The Trumps host Spain's King Felipe VI and Queen Letizia for tea at White House," 19 June 2018 The report highlights the agency's overall failure to follow up on Green's poor work evaluations and makes clear that Green's performance issues were well-known. Noelle Crombie,, "Sheriff's Office repeatedly ignored detective who bungled sex crime cases: audit," 12 June 2018

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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English Language Learners Definition of follow-up

: something that continues or completes a process or activity


fol·​low-up | \ˈfäl-ə-ˌwəp, ˌfäl- \

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 \

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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Spanish Central: Translation of follow-up

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playful or foolish behavior

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