Definitions

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

  • transitive v. To come or go after; proceed behind: Follow the usher to your seat.
  • transitive v. To go after in or as if in pursuit: "The wrong she had done followed her and haunted her dream” ( Katherine Anne Porter).
  • transitive v. To keep under surveillance: followed the suspect around town.
  • transitive v. To move along the course of; take: We followed a path to the shore.
  • transitive v. To go in the direction of; be guided by: followed the sun westward across the plains; followed the signs to the zoo.
  • transitive v. To accept the guidance, command, or leadership of: follow a spiritual master; rebels who refused to follow their commander.
  • transitive v. To adhere to; practice: followed family traditions.
  • transitive v. To take as a model or precedent; imitate: followed my example and resigned.
  • transitive v. To act in agreement or compliance with; obey: follow the rules; follow one's instincts.
  • transitive v. To keep to or stick to: followed the recipe; follow a diet.
  • transitive v. To engage in (a trade or occupation); work at.
  • transitive v. To come after in order, time, or position: Night follows day.
  • transitive v. To bring something about at a later time than or as a consequence of: She followed her lecture with a question-and-answer period. The band followed its hit record with a tour.
  • transitive v. To occur or be evident as a consequence of: Your conclusion does not follow your premise.
  • transitive v. To watch or observe closely: followed the bird through binoculars.
  • transitive v. To be attentive to; pay close heed to: too sleepy to follow the sermon.
  • transitive v. To keep oneself informed of the course, progress, or fortunes of: follow the stock market; followed the local teams.
  • transitive v. To grasp the meaning or logic of; understand: Do you follow my argument?
  • intransitive v. To come, move, or take place after another person or thing in order or time.
  • intransitive v. To occur or be evident as a consequence; result: If you ignore your diet, trouble will follow.
  • intransitive v. To grasp the meaning or reasoning of something; understand.
  • n. The act or an instance of following.
  • n. Games A billiards shot in which the cue ball is struck above center so that it follows the path of the object ball after impact.
  • follow along To move or proceed in unison or in accord with an example: followed along with the song.
  • follow through Sports To carry a stroke to natural completion after hitting or releasing a ball or other object.
  • follow through To carry an act, project, or intention to completion; pursue fully: followed through on her promise to reorganize the department.
  • follow up To carry to completion; follow through on: followed up their recommendations with concrete proposals.
  • follow up To increase the effectiveness or enhance the success of by further action: followed up her interview with an e-mail.
  • idiom as follows As will be stated next. Used to introduce a specified enumeration, explanation, or command.
  • idiom follow (one's) nose To move straight ahead or in a direct path.
  • idiom follow (one's) nose Informal To be guided by instinct: had no formal training but became a success by following his nose.
  • idiom follow suit Games To play a card of the same suit as the one led.
  • idiom follow suit To do as another has done; follow an example.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • v. To go or come after in physical space.
  • v. To go or come after in a sequence.
  • v. To carry out in accordance to (orders, instructions, etc).
  • v. To live one's life according to (religion, teachings, etc).
  • v. To understand, to pay attention to.
  • v. To watch, to keep track of (reports of) some event or person.
  • v. To be a logical consequence of.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • transitive v. To go or come after; to move behind in the same path or direction; hence, to go with (a leader, guide, etc.); to accompany; to attend.
  • transitive v. To endeavor to overtake; to go in pursuit of; to chase; to pursue; to prosecute.
  • transitive v. To accept as authority; to adopt the opinions of; to obey; to yield to; to take as a rule of action.
  • transitive v. To copy after; to take as an example.
  • transitive v. To succeed in order of time, rank, or office.
  • transitive v. To result from, as an effect from a cause, or an inference from a premise.
  • transitive v. To watch, as a receding object; to keep the eyes fixed upon while in motion; to keep the mind upon while in progress, as a speech, musical performance, etc.; also, to keep up with; to understand the meaning, connection, or force of, as of a course of thought or argument.
  • transitive v. To walk in, as a road or course; to attend upon closely, as a profession or calling.
  • intransitive v. To go or come after; -- used in the various senses of the transitive verb: To pursue; to attend; to accompany; to be a result; to imitate.
  • n. The art or process of following; specif., in some games, as billiards, a stroke causing a ball to follow another ball after hitting it. Also used adjectively.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • To go or come after; move behind in the same direction: as, the dog followed his master home; follow me.
  • To come after in natural sequence, or in order of time; succeed.
  • To engage in the pursuit of; seek to overtake or come up with; pursue; chase: as, to follow game or an enemy.
  • To pursue as an object or purpose; strive after; endeavor to obtain or attain to.
  • To keep up with, or with the course or progress of; observe or comprehend the sequence or connecting links of: as, to follow an argument, or the plot of a play.
  • To watch or regard the movements, progress, or course of: as, to follow a person with the eye.
  • To accept as a leader or guide; be led or guided by; accompany; hence, to adhere to, as disciples to a master or his teachings; accept as authority; adopt the opinions, cause, or side of.
  • To conform to; comply with; take as a guide, example, or model: as, to follow the fashion; to follow advice or admonition.
  • To engage in or be concerned with as a pursuit; pursue the duties or requirements of; carry on the business of; prosecute: as, to follow trade, a calling, or a profession; to follow the stage.
  • To result from, as an effect from a cause or an inference from premises; come after as a result or consequence: as, poverty often follows extravagance or idleness; intemperance is often followed by disease.
  • Hence— To follow the line of speech, argument, or conduct adopted by a predecessor.
  • To come or go behind; come in the wake or rear; come next, or in natural sequence or order.
  • To result as an effect from a cause or an inference from premises; be a consequent: as, from such conduct great scandal is sure to follow; the facts may be admitted, but the inference drawn from them does not follow.
  • Synonyms Follow; Succeed, Ensue. Follow and succeed, or succeed to, are applied to persons or things; ensue, in modern literature, to things only. Follow may denote the mere going in order in a track or line, and it commonly suggests that the things mentioned are near together. Succeed (transitive or intransitive), implying a regular series, denotes the being in the same place which another has held immediately before; a crowd may follow a man, but only one person or event can succeed to another; upon the death of a sovereign his oldest son succeeds him and succeeds to the throne; day follows night. To ensue is to follow close upon, to follow as the effect of some settled principle of order, to follow by a necessary connection: as, nothing but suffering can ensue from such a course.
  • n. In billiards, a stroke which causes the cue-ball to follow the object-ball after impact.
  • n. The difference in the external diameter of a spring, especially of a coiled or helical spring, when unloaded and when compressed by its working load. The torsion of the rod which forms the coil tends to increase the diameter as the spring closes.

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

  • v. behave in accordance or in agreement with
  • v. adhere to or practice
  • v. follow with the eyes or the mind
  • v. be the successor (of)
  • v. follow in or as if in pursuit
  • v. follow, discover, or ascertain the course of development of something
  • v. accept and follow the leadership or command or guidance of
  • v. travel along a certain course
  • v. to travel behind, go after, come after
  • v. keep informed
  • v. grasp the meaning
  • v. choose and follow; as of theories, ideas, policies, strategies or plans
  • v. come as a logical consequence; follow logically
  • v. be later in time
  • v. to bring something about at a later time than
  • v. keep to
  • v. imitate in behavior; take as a model
  • v. come after in time, as a result
  • v. to be the product or result
  • v. perform an accompaniment to
  • v. work in a specific place, with a specific subject, or in a specific function
  • v. act in accordance with someone's rules, commands, or wishes
  • v. be next
  • v. keep under surveillance

Etymologies

Middle English folowen, from Old English folgian.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
Middle English folwen, folgen from Old English folġian, fylgan 'to follow, pursue', from Proto-Germanic *fulʒēnan (compare West Frisian folgje, Dutch volgen, German folgen), from *fulkan 'folk'. More at folk. (Wiktionary)

Examples

  • If you would go to the political world, follow the great road, —follow that marketman, keep his dust in your eyes, and it will lead you straight to it; for it, too, has its place merely, and does not occupy all space.

    Walking

  • I will follow your holy deception; �-follow till ye have brought me to the feet of my Father in Heaven, where I shall find you all with folded wings spangling the sapphire dusk whereon stands His throne, which is our home.

    Alec Forbes of Howglen

  • And in the former stanza, for _all follow this_, we might read, _all follow_ thee.

    Notes to Shakespeare, Volume III: The Tragedies

  • The storyline, while a bit tough to follow, is very interesting, and seems to follow from the high level of integration between humanity and technology depicted.

    The Top 10 Science Fiction Anime

  • One good practice to follow is to use larger stones as often as possible for the lower courses.

    Dry-stone walls last for generations, require some engineering

  • There are many believers of Christ but I would argue that there are few followers of Christ; for to follow is to consider your neighbor (i.e., your fellow human being) and give unselfishly to those in need.

    Obama considering major health care speech

  • Whenever all the media and political establishment are jumping on the telephone wire like a horde of blackbirds, embracing the same conventional wisdom about the results of an election, the usual rule to follow is to jump in the other direction.

    Lanny Davis: Premature Celebration by Republicans?

  • The best course for the White House to follow is to totally and absolutely ignore the Fox News organization.

    Dunn leaving White House

  • I believe the only rules our soldiers should be made to follow is to win.

    Sound Politics: The Religion of Peace Marches On

  • Yes, ma'am, you have a-- that is what we call a follow-up.

    CNN Transcript Oct 7, 2008

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