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 Burial will follow in Mt. St. Benedict Cemetery, Bloomfield., "Angela Eisenberg," 17 Sep. 2019 Cousette followed and an exchange of gunfire ensued. Carol Robinson |, al, "Tuscaloosa police officer shot to death; suspect in custody," 17 Sep. 2019 As in the film and book, the musical will follow Andy, an ambitious young writer in New York City who lands a job at a prestigious fashion magazine, only to discover that her stylish boss is straight out of hell. Maureen Lee Lenker,, "The Devil Wears Prada musical to premiere in Chicago before Broadway run," 17 Sep. 2019 The frenetic post-game celebration followed an improbable 10-7 victory by the Sun Devils (3-0) over Michigan State (2-1), which came in ranked 18th in one national poll and 19th in another and boasting the nation's top-ranked rushing defense. Michelle Gardner, azcentral, "ASU upsets No. 18 Michigan State 10-7 on Daniels' heroics, Spartan mistakes," 14 Sep. 2019 Tee shirts with the words emblazoned in red, white, and blue followed shortly thereafter. Alex Shephard, The New Republic, "Second Tier in Top Form at Democratic Debate," 13 Sep. 2019 These findings follow on the heels of a joint All-Party Parliamentary Group report by British lawmakers which showed applicants from African countries face far more visa challenges than applicants from other continents. Yomi Kazeem, Quartz Africa, "Three in four Africans applying for student visas in Canada this year have been rejected," 13 Sep. 2019 Weeks of intense negotiations over her severance package followed her departure. Fox News, "Planned Parenthood, former CEO come to agreement on severance dispute," 17 Sep. 2019 Adapted from Greg Rucka’s series of graphic novels, Stumptown follows Dex, an aspiring Portland private investigator who has more flaws than cases. Derek Lawrence,, "Stumptown is ready to bring you a type of character that 'didn't exist on television'," 17 Sep. 2019 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun In recent weeks, China and South Korea have reported that some patients who had recovered from COVID-19 tested positive again in follow-up visits. Author: Brittny Mejia, Anchorage Daily News, "A patient’s return to hospital COVID-19 unit underscores uncertainty to come," 16 May 2020 Absent from their proposal on Wednesday were provisions that Schumer and Pelosi had previously called for in a follow-up stimulus package to the plan passed late last month. Laura Litvan,, "McConnell Moves on Quick Aid Vote While Pelosi Urges More Cash," 15 May 2020 By our count, across experiments involving more than 10,000 Americans, fact-checks increase the proportion of correct responses in follow-up testing by more than 28 percentage points. Ethan Porter, Wired, "Why Is Facebook So Afraid of Checking Facts?," 14 May 2020 Call center workers from the Hawaii Visitors and Convention Bureau and the Hawaii Tourism Authority follow-up numerous times to verify travelers are in quarantine. Jennifer Sinco Kelleher, USA TODAY, "Some Hawaii hotels ask for more guidance on how to enforce coronavirus quarantine on travelers," 14 May 2020 Based on follow-ups over two decades, however, many began to show signs of those conditions. Ryan Prior, CNN, "Gulping down 1 or more sugary drinks a day could put you at risk for cardiovascular disease," 13 May 2020 Set to arrive in February, The Project is Summers' follow-up to her New York Times best-selling novel Sadie. Seija Rankin,, "Get a first look at Courtney Summers' cult thriller The Project," 13 May 2020 The bill is a follow-up to the $3 trillion Congress has already spent on four bills in response to the crisis caused by the coronavirus pandemic, which has ground the world’s biggest economy to a halt. Laura Davison,, "House democrats unveil $3 trillion aid bill with cash for states," 12 May 2020 Birx had said that antigen tests could be used as first-pass screening tools that would be confirmed with follow-up PCR assays. Jim Daley, Scientific American, "‘Breakthrough’ COVID-19 Tests Are Currently Cheap, Fast—and Not Very Accurate," 7 May 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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Learn More about follow

Time Traveler for follow

Time Traveler

The first known use of follow was before the 12th century

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Statistics for follow

Cite this Entry

“Follow.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 31 May. 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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More from Merriam-Webster on follow

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for follow

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with follow

Spanish Central: Translation of follow

Nglish: Translation of follow for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of follow for Arabic Speakers

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