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 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

Honestly, the smoke seems to follow you around for half a day. Nick Kindelsperger,, "The 5 best jerk chicken dishes on Chicago’s South Side," 13 June 2019 Yusor Mohammad, 21, was preparing to follow in her husband's footsteps at the dental school and had just received her letter of admission. Amanda Watts, CNN, "North Carolina man sentenced to life after pleading guilty to the 2015 murders of 3 Muslim college students," 12 June 2019 If approved by voters in November, the first primary election for the office would be next spring, with a general election contest to follow in November 2020. Cliff Pinckard,, "Greater Cleveland Partnership supports state bill to repeal Cuyahoga County bag ban: The Wake Up for Tuesday, June 12, 2019," 12 June 2019 Paul and Leslie Rinderknecht have allowed The Enquirer to follow them on their journey with ALS. Anne Saker,, "The Rinderknechts of Springfield Township take a summer vacation with serious illness," 11 June 2019 Nominations for the Tory leadership closed on June 10th, to be followed by several rounds of voting among MPs to whittle down the ten candidates, a process that will take a week or two. The Economist, "The race to become Britain’s next PM," 11 June 2019 And, with multiple royal couples now to follow, this is for certain: there will be more grand gifts on the horizon. Elise Taylor, Vogue, "Prince Harry Gave Meghan Markle This Romantic Anniversary Gift," 11 June 2019 Cullen Large was up, with 2014 Grant graduate Ryan Noda to follow. Lamond Pope, Lake County News-Sun, "'You always dream about it': Grant grad Ryan Noda continues to learn in Toronto Blue Jays' farm system," 11 June 2019 Break-bulk has conventions to follow, but no scales or scanners, and no rigid price list. Rowan Moore Gerety, Harper's magazine, "Downstream," 10 June 2019

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

That policy would have to be adopted through a follow-up bill, but is deeply unpopular. Alexei Koseff,, "Where Gov. Gavin Newsom wins and loses in newly passed California budget," 13 June 2019 Colbert immediately asked a follow-up question that many Democrats in Texas have been postulating for weeks: Why doesn't Beto try to unseat Republican Senator John Cornyn in 2020? Peter Dawson, Houston Chronicle, "Stephen Colbert asks Beto O'Rourke to drop White House bid, run for Senate seat in Texas," 13 June 2019 To help answer those questions, ANMC has increased the amount of long-term follow-up with trauma patients to track recovery. Anchorage Daily News, "When healing means more than stitching up wounds," 11 June 2019 Additionally, the risks were higher for patients who participated in studies that included at least a five-year follow-up. Maggie O'neill,, "What is White Coat Hypertension? New Study Links the Condition to Increased Risk of Heart Trouble," 11 June 2019 Plans to build 12 single-family homes at the corner of Hunter Street and Raymond Avenue were evaluated by Ramona Design Review Board members May 30 with no other action than to schedule a follow-up review at the board’s June 27 meeting. Julie Gallant, Ramona Sentinel, "Plans underway for 12 new homes, equipment sales business," 11 June 2019 One barrier to vaccination is that some children receive the first immunization shot, Fehlis said, but fail to get the follow-up shot six months later. Orla Mccaffrey, Dallas News, "Philanthropist Lyda Hill targets HPV with $4.6M donation to increase vaccinations," 6 June 2019 For a health care team that worked hard to heal a child, watching a young patient’s condition deteriorate over subsequent visits for lack of proper follow-up care can be heartbreaking—and infuriating. Corinne Purtill, Quartz at Work, "A simple strategy helps doctors fight burnout. Could it work for the rest of us?," 5 June 2019 The tie was broken in a follow-up round, with Allen winning the honors by shucking 22 oysters and the $150 prize. Ann Maloney,, "Find out who took home all the clams at the New Orleans Oyster Festival," 4 June 2019

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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Statistics for follow

Last Updated

16 Jun 2019

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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 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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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

Comments on follow

What made you want to look up follow? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


incapable of being surmounted or overcome

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