verb fol·low \ˈfä-(ˌ)lō\

Definition of follow

  1. transitive verb
  2. 1 :  to go, proceed, or come after followed the guide

  3. 2a :  to engage in as a calling or way of life :  pursue wheat-growing is generally followed hereb :  to walk or proceed along follow a path

  4. 3a :  to be or act in accordance with follow directionsb :  to accept as authority :  obey followed his conscience

  5. 4a :  to pursue in an effort to overtake Police followed the robbers attempting to escape.b :  to seek to attain follow knowledge

  6. 5 :  to come into existence or take place as a result or consequence of disaster followed the blunder

  7. 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

  8. 7 :  to copy after :  imitate the new building follows the facades and roof lines of the original buildings — Maxwell Mays

  9. 8a :  to watch steadily followed the flight of the ballb :  to keep the mind on follow a speechc :  to attend closely to :  keep abreast of followed his career with interestd :  to understand the sense or logic of (as a line of thought) I don't quite follow your thinking.

  10. intransitive verb
  11. 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.

  12. 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

  1. :  as comes next —used impersonally The names of the winners are as follows: Mary, James, and Sylvia.

follow one's nose

  1. 1 :  to go in a straight or obvious course Just follow your nose until you get there; you can't miss it.

  2. 2 :  to proceed without plan or reflection :  obey one's instincts You don't need my advice—just follow your nose.

follow suit

  1. 1 :  to play a card of the same suit as the card led

  2. 2 :  to follow an example set When one airline lowers its fares, the others usually follow suit.

Examples of follow in a sentence

  1. She followed us into the kitchen.

  2. The dog followed the children home.

  3. The exit is right this way. Just follow me.

  4. The children went home and the dog followed behind.

  5. If one sheep goes through the gate, the rest will follow.

  6. The number 15 follows 14.

  7. Her accident was followed by a long period of recovery.

  8. First came the student speeches, and the presentation of awards followed.

  9. Rioting followed the unjust verdict.

  10. If you work hard, success will surely follow.

Origin and Etymology of follow

Middle English folwen, from Old English folgian; akin to Old High German folgēn to follow

First Known Use: before 12th century

Synonym Discussion of 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



noun fol·low

Definition of follow

  1. 1 :  the act or process of following

  2. 2 :  forward spin given to a ball by striking it above center — compare draw, english

Origin and Etymology of follow

see 1follow

First Known Use: 1661

FOLLOW Defined for English Language Learners



verb fol·low \ˈfä-(ˌ)lō\

Definition of follow for English Language Learners

  • : 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

FOLLOW Defined for Kids


verb fol·low \ˈfä-lō\

Definition of follow for Students




  1. 1 :  to go or come after or behind The dog followed the children home. Dessert followed dinner.

  2. 2 :  to come after in time or place Spring follows winter.

  3. 3 :  to go on the track of Police followed a clue.

  4. 4 :  to go along or beside Follow that path.

  5. 5 :  to be led or guided by :  obey Follow the instructions.

  6. 6 :  to result from Panic followed the fire.

  7. 7 :  to work in or at something as a way of life He followed the sea.

  8. 8 :  to watch or pay attention to Just follow the bouncing ball.

  9. 9 :  understand 1 I'm not following this story.


\ˈfäl-ə-wər\ noun

follow suit

  1. 1 :  to play a card that belongs to the same group (as hearts) as the one first played

  2. 2 :  to do the same thing someone else has just done

follow through

  1. :  to complete something started You must follow through on your promise.

follow up

  1. :  to take additional similar or related action I followed up my letter with a phone call.

Law Dictionary


transitive verb fol·low

Legal Definition of follow

  1. :  to be in accordance with (a prior decision) :  accept as authoritative — see also precedent — compare overrule

Seen and Heard

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


a brief usually trivial fact

Get Word of the Day daily email!


Take a 3-minute break and test your skills!

Name That Thing

Test your visual vocabulary with our 10-question challenge!


Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.