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

Antonyms: Verb

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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 Publix continues to follow CDC guidelines and will be requiring all customers and employees to wear facial coverings inside the store. William Thornton |, al, "Publix to open new Hoover store," 10 May 2021 Four Democrats have so far entered the race and others may follow. Craig Gilbert, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "A rich grocer, a low-budget underdog and a wild election swing. Lessons from Wisconsin's past frame '22 Democratic primary for U.S. Senate," 10 May 2021 At the time, the state noted the Michigan Occupational and Safety Health Administration received more than 12,000 complaints from employees who allege their workplace did not follow COVID-19 safety protocols. Dave Boucher, Detroit Free Press, "Michigan hits first COVID-19 vaccine goal, to roll back workplace restrictions May 24," 10 May 2021 The restaurant continues to follow state guidelines which do not allow people to wait for a table. Steve Sadin,, "Lake County restaurant owners see easing state restrictions as step toward a return to normal," 10 May 2021 His lawsuit alleges the LAPD cannot be trusted to follow its own guidelines for such weapons, including that they should not be aimed at people’s heads or faces. Kevin Rector, Los Angeles Times, "Judge grants preliminary injunction limiting LAPD projectile weapons at protests," 10 May 2021 Two more collections of MLB gear are scheduled to follow for the fall and holiday seasons, according to a press release. Bryan Hood, Robb Report, "Ralph Lauren and Major League Baseball Are Teaming Up for a Stylish Line of Fan Gear," 10 May 2021 Not everyone likes a serious streamer all of the time — be yourself and engage with people who go out of their way to follow you, subscribe to your content or even type in your chat. Justin Grome, Forbes, "Why You Aren't Growing As A Streamer," 10 May 2021 Studies have found limited Covid-19 spread in school buildings that follow safety recommendations like mask-wearing and distancing, though public-health and school officials have reported cases linked to youth and school sports. Jennifer Calfas, WSJ, "FDA Authorizes Pfizer-BioNTech Covid-19 Vaccine for 12- to 15-Year-Olds," 10 May 2021 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun The investigators concede that the course of the study was brief, and more follow-up is needed to determine how long the positive impacts of the MDMA treatment last. Jeffrey Kluger, Time, "A New Study Points to MDMA as a Powerful Treatment for PTSD," 11 May 2021 In a follow-up chat with reporters, VanVleet not only addressed that incident, but shared some harsh words about Sexton, pointing to the importance of character and how his personal judgment on any opponent will always go beyond their level of play. Chris Fedor, cleveland, "Collin Sexton says ‘all good’ between him and Luka Doncic after Mavericks star takes aggressive below-the-belt swipe and gets ejected," 10 May 2021 People are welcome to drop in, whether for a first dose, or for a second dose that is a follow-up to a dose received elsewhere. Laura Groch, San Diego Union-Tribune, "East County Happenings, May 9," 9 May 2021 The foul gave Brett a penalty kick, which Hubbard defended, along with multiple follow-up attempts, on the first go around. Jonathan Saxon, The Courier-Journal, "Louisville City FC, Birmingham come to a draw following controversial PKs," 9 May 2021 Vitiello lauded the new study’s lengthy follow-up period and examination of people in their 50s (most similar research focuses on those 65 and older). Washington Post, "What you need to know about research linking sleep deprivation and dementia," 8 May 2021 Featuring collaborations with Ed Sheeran, Keith Urban and Travis Barker, Cry Forever is the follow-up to her debut Love Monster, which hit the top back in 2018. Lars Brandle, Billboard, "Amy Shark, The Kid LAROI Rule Australia’s Charts," 7 May 2021 In testing, we were thrilled with the service's large portions and easy-to-follow recipe cards. Nishka Dhawan, USA TODAY, "What to buy in May 2021: All the best deals to shop this month," 2 May 2021 Or that Apple is changing the ‘subscribe’ button to a ‘follow’ button? Nicholas Quah, Vulture, "Apple and Spotify Are Ready to Take Your Podcast Money," 27 Apr. 2021

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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Time Traveler for follow

Time Traveler

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

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Statistics for follow

Last Updated

13 May 2021

Cite this Entry

“Follow.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 14 May. 2021.

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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

Comments on follow

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