\ ˈflō How to pronounce flow (audio) \
flowed; flowing; flows

Definition of flow

 (Entry 1 of 2)

intransitive verb

1a(1) : to issue or move in a stream rivers flow into the sea
(2) : circulate
b : to move with a continual change of place among the constituent particles molasses flows slowly water flowing over the dam
2 : rise the tide ebbs and flows
3 : abound a land flowing with natural resources
4a : to proceed smoothly and readily conversation flowed easily
b : to have a smooth continuity the flowing lines of the car
5 : to hang loose and billowing her gown flowed around her
6 : to derive from a source : come the wealth that flows from trade
7 : to deform under stress without cracking or rupturing used especially of minerals and rocks

transitive verb

1 : to cause to flow flowing oil over the swamp to kill mosquito larvae
2 : to discharge in a flow The new oil well flowed 100 barrels a day.



Definition of flow (Entry 2 of 2)

1 : an act of flowing
b : flood sense 2 the tide's ebb and flow
3a : a smooth uninterrupted movement or progress a flow of information
b : stream also : a mass of material which has flowed when molten an old lava flow
c : the direction of movement or development go with the flow
4 : the quantity that flows in a certain time a gauge that measures fuel flow
6a : the motion characteristic of fluids
b : a continuous transfer of energy

Synonyms & Antonyms for flow

Synonyms: Verb

Antonyms: Verb

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spring, arise, rise, originate, derive, flow, issue, emanate, proceed, stem mean to come up or out of something into existence. spring implies rapid or sudden emerging. an idea that springs to mind arise and rise may both convey the fact of coming into existence or notice but rise often stresses gradual growth or ascent. new questions have arisen slowly rose to prominence originate implies a definite source or starting point. the fire originated in the basement derive implies a prior existence in another form. the holiday derives from an ancient Roman feast flow adds to spring a suggestion of abundance or ease of inception. words flowed easily from her pen issue suggests emerging from confinement through an outlet. blood issued from the cut emanate applies to the coming of something immaterial (such as a thought) from a source. reports emanating from the capital proceed stresses place of origin, derivation, parentage, or logical cause. advice that proceeds from the best of intentions stem implies originating by dividing or branching off from something as an outgrowth or subordinate development. industries stemming from space research

Examples of flow in a Sentence

Verb rivers flowing into the sea She opened the faucet and the water began to flow freely. a device that measures the amount of electricity flowing through a circuit Traffic has been flowing smoothly from east to west. The grain flowed smoothly down the elevator chute. Requests have flowed into the office. Money has continued to flow in. Noun a sudden flow of tears a steady flow of traffic The doctor was trying to stop the flow of blood. We want to encourage the free flow of ideas. the westward flow of settlers We've been receiving a constant flow of phone calls. measuring blood flow to the brain See More
Recent Examples on the Web: Verb For years during the Cold War, NATO military doctrine was preoccupied with the belief that any ground attack by the Soviet Union would flow through Germany’s Fulda Gap. Daniel Henninger, WSJ, 30 Mar. 2022 Switching payment to bitcoin would be another way to circumvent sanctions since the cryptocurrency doesn’t flow through the international banking system. Tim De Chant, Ars Technica, 25 Mar. 2022 Wind Creek has estimated that $3 million in tax revenue would flow annually to Homewood and East Hazel Crest, and another $4 million a year to the other communities. Mike Nolan, chicagotribune.com, 25 Mar. 2022 The sap doesn’t flow to any appreciable extent; few red robins are visible, and there is no excess of greensward. San Diego Union-Tribune, 21 Mar. 2022 But Democrats rejected that premise, saying that $6,000 is not enough to pay tuition in many private schools, meaning that the benefit would likely flow to more affluent families, while not aiding poorer families. Jeff Amy, ajc, 16 Mar. 2022 The department believes that the runoff was contained and did not flow into Curtis Creek, Apperson wrote. Christine Condon, baltimoresun.com, 7 Mar. 2022 But there's no confidence that the United States would full bore flow large scale forces to Taiwan and defend it. CBS News, 23 Feb. 2022 Vasileios Stavropoulos, senior lecturer of Clinical Psychology at Victoria University in Melbourne, attributes that feeling of reprieve to flow, or the state of being completely absorbed by a concurrently challenging and pleasing activity. Nikki Campo, Wired, 23 Dec. 2021 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun The map below shows our current water flow versus what would be typical this time of the year. Dave Epstein, BostonGlobe.com, 11 May 2022 This upward movement would lubricate the base of the ice and accelerate its flow. Katie Hunt, CNN, 5 May 2022 Like all businesses, the pandemic disrupted its retail flow. Gary Stern, Forbes, 2 May 2022 Hailing from Puerto Rico, Moffa forms part of the new wave of acts adding their own flow to Latin urban music. Billboard Staff, Billboard, 27 Apr. 2022 These yoga pants, which took two years to develop, include neoprene stripes with haptic technology that offer real-time vibrational feedback that will help guide you through your yoga flow. Sam Dangremond And Roxanne Adamiyatt, Town & Country, 21 Apr. 2022 Participants also underwent MRIs during the study's 25th or 30th year, which were used to examine changes in both the brain's structure and its blood flow. Christina Crawford, Health.com, 19 Apr. 2022 If the streets are the neural network of the city, then the subway is its blood flow, its motion, keeping New York from becoming paralyzed. Adam Gopnik, The New Yorker, 19 Apr. 2022 The canal was the main source of water for Crimea until Putin annexed it in 2014 and Ukraine then hastily built a dam to block its flow. Washington Post, 19 Apr. 2022 See More

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'flow.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

First Known Use of flow


before the 12th century, in the meaning defined at intransitive sense 1a(1)


15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for flow


Middle English, from Old English flōwan; akin to Old High German flouwen to rinse, wash, Latin pluere to rain, Greek plein to sail, float

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

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Last Updated

12 May 2022

Cite this Entry

“Flow.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/flow. Accessed 23 May. 2022.

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More Definitions for flow


\ ˈflō How to pronounce flow (audio) \
flowed; flowing

Kids Definition of flow

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : to move in or as if in a stream The river flows to the sea. She felt relief flow through her.
2 : to glide along smoothly Traffic is flowing on the highway.
3 : to hang loose and waving Her hair flowed down.



Kids Definition of flow (Entry 2 of 2)

1 : an act of moving in or as if in a stream a flow of tears a flow of praise
2 : the rise of the tide the ebb and flow of the tide
3 : a smooth even movement : stream the flow of conversation a flow of information
4 : an amount or mass of something moving in a stream blood flow


intransitive verb
\ ˈflō How to pronounce flow (audio) \

Medical Definition of flow

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : to move with a continual change of place among the constituent particles blood flows toward the heart in veins



Medical Definition of flow (Entry 2 of 2)

1 : the quantity that flows in a certain time
3 : the motion characteristic of fluids

More from Merriam-Webster on flow

Nglish: Translation of flow for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of flow for Arabic Speakers

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about flow


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