from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • intransitive v. To move or run smoothly with unbroken continuity, as in the manner characteristic of a fluid.
  • intransitive v. To issue in a stream; pour forth: Sap flowed from the gash in the tree.
  • intransitive v. To circulate, as the blood in the body.
  • intransitive v. To move with a continual shifting of the component particles: wheat flowing into the bin; traffic flowing through the tunnel.
  • intransitive v. To proceed steadily and easily: The preparations flowed smoothly.
  • intransitive v. To exhibit a smooth or graceful continuity: The poem's cadence flowed gracefully.
  • intransitive v. To hang loosely and gracefully: The cape flowed from his shoulders.
  • intransitive v. To rise. Used of the tide.
  • intransitive v. To arise; derive: Many conclusions flow from this hypothesis.
  • intransitive v. To abound or teem: coffers flowing with treasure.
  • intransitive v. To stream copiously; flood: Contributions flowed in from all parts of the country.
  • intransitive v. To menstruate.
  • intransitive v. To undergo plastic deformation without cracking or breaking. Used of rocks, metals, or minerals.
  • transitive v. To release as a flow: trees flowing thin sap.
  • transitive v. To cause to flow: "One of the real keys to success is developing a system where you can flow traffic to yourselves” ( Marc Klee).
  • n. The act of flowing.
  • n. The smooth motion characteristic of fluids.
  • n. A stream or current.
  • n. A flood or overflow.
  • n. A residual mass that has stopped flowing: a hardened lava flow.
  • n. A continuous output or outpouring: a flow of ideas; produced a steady flow of stories.
  • n. A continuous movement or circulation: the flow of traffic; a flow of paperwork across his desk.
  • n. The amount that flows in a given period of time.
  • n. The rising of the tide.
  • n. Continuity and smoothness of appearance.
  • n. A general movement or tendency: a dissenter who went against the flow of opinion.
  • n. The sequence in which operations are performed.
  • n. An apparent ease or effortlessness of performance: "An athlete must learn to forget the details of his or her training to achieve the instinctive sense of flow that characterizes a champion” ( Frederick Turner).
  • n. Menstrual discharge.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. The movement of a fluid.
  • n. The rising movement of the tide.
  • n. Smoothness or continuity.
  • n. The amount of a fluid that moves or the rate of fluid movement.
  • n. The state of being at one with.
  • v. To move as a fluid from one position to another.
  • v. To move or match smoothly, gracefully, or continuously.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • imp. sing. of fly, v. i.
  • n. A stream of water or other fluid; a current
  • n. A continuous movement of something abundant.
  • n. Any gentle, gradual movement or procedure of thought, diction, music, or the like, resembling the quiet, steady movement of a river; a stream.
  • n. The tidal setting in of the water from the ocean to the shore. See Ebb and flow, under Ebb.
  • n. A low-lying piece of watery land; -- called also flow moss and flow bog.
  • intransitive v. To move with a continual change of place among the particles or parts, as a fluid; to change place or circulate, as a liquid
  • intransitive v. To become liquid; to melt.
  • intransitive v. To proceed; to issue forth.
  • intransitive v. To glide along smoothly, without harshness or asperties; ; to sound smoothly to the ear; to be uttered easily.
  • intransitive v. To have or be in abundance; to abound; to full, so as to run or flow over; to be copious.
  • intransitive v. To hang loose and waving
  • intransitive v. To rise, as the tide; -- opposed to ebb.
  • intransitive v. To discharge blood in excess from the uterus.
  • transitive v. To cover with water or other liquid; to overflow; to inundate; to flood.
  • transitive v. To cover with varnish.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • To move along, as water or other fluid, in a continuous succession or stream, by the force either of gravity or of impulse upon individual particles or parts; move in a current; stream; run: as, the river flows northward; venous blood flows from the extremities to the heart; the crowd flowed in a steady stream toward the point of attraction.
  • Hence To proceed; issue; well forth: as, wealth flows from industry and economy.
  • To abound; have or be in abundance; be full: as, flowing cups or goblets.
  • To glide smoothly, without harshness or dissonance: as, a flowing period; flowing numbers.
  • To hang loose and waving: as, flowing skirts; flowing locks.
  • To rise, as the tide: opposed to ebb: as, the tide ebbs and flows twice in twenty-four hours.
  • To discharge blood, as in the catamenia or after childbirth.
  • In ceramics, to work or blend freely: said of a glaze.
  • To cover with water; overflow; inundate: as, the low grounds along the river aro annually flowed.
  • To carry down in a current: said of water in a river.
  • To cover with any liquid, as varnish or glaze, by causing it to flow over the surface.
  • In founding, to permit (the molten metal) to flow through the mold long enough to carry off all air and foreign matter, in order to insure a casting free from bubbles and similar defects; run through.
  • Cold; windy; boisterous; bleak: as, flow weather.
  • In the differential calculus, to enlarge (or diminish) continuously, that is, by infinitesimal increments (+ or —).
  • n. The act or state of flowing; a continuous passing or transmission, as of water or other fluid; movement in or as if in a current or stream: as, a flow of blood, oil, lava, or magnetism; the volume of flow in a river.
  • n. That which flows, or results from flowing; a mass of matter moving or that has moved in a stream: as, to walk over a lava-flow.
  • n. The rise of the tide: as, the daily ebb and flow.
  • n. Any strong progressive movement, as of thought, language, trade, etc., comparable to the flow of a river; stream; current: as, a flow of eloquence; the flow of commodities toward a commercial center.
  • n. Figuratively, abundant influx or efflux; copiousness in emission, communication, or reception.
  • n. In mech., the volume of fluid which flows through a passage of any given section in a unit of time.
  • n. In ceramics, the flux used to cause color to run and blend in firing.
  • n. That part of an inclosed space, as a reservoir, along and from which a contained liquid is flowing.
  • n. A marshy moor; a morass; a low-lying piece of watery land.
  • n. A form of the obsolete preterit and past participle (flowen) of fly.
  • n. A quicksand.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • v. cause to flow
  • n. the act of flowing or streaming; continuous progression
  • n. any uninterrupted stream or discharge
  • n. the amount of fluid that flows in a given time
  • n. dominant course (suggestive of running water) of successive events or ideas
  • v. fall or flow in a certain way
  • v. undergo menstruation
  • n. the motion characteristic of fluids (liquids or gases)
  • n. the monthly discharge of blood from the uterus of nonpregnant women from puberty to menopause
  • v. move along, of liquids
  • v. be abundantly present
  • n. something that resembles a flowing stream in moving continuously
  • v. move or progress freely as if in a stream
  • v. cover or swamp with water


from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

Middle English flouen, from Old English flōwan.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

From Old English flōwan, from Proto-Germanic *flōanan, from Proto-Indo-European *plōw-. Cognate from Proto-Indo-European (via Latin) with fluent, flux.



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  • Csikszentmihalyi. skill and challenge arrive at a flow state, otherwise boredom or anxiety would be evident

    November 13, 2010