- to go or come after in the same direction: he followed his friend home
- (transitive) to accompany; attend: she followed her sister everywhere
- to come after as a logical or natural consequence
- (transitive) to keep to the course or track of: she followed the towpath
- (transitive) to act in accordance with; obey: to follow instructions
- (transitive) to accept the ideas or beliefs of (a previous authority, etc): he followed Donne in most of his teachings
- to understand (an explanation, argument, etc): the lesson was difficult to follow
- to watch closely or continuously: she followed his progress carefully
- (transitive) to have a keen interest in: to follow athletics
- (transitive) to help in the cause of or accept the leadership of: the men who followed Napoleon
WordReference Random House Learner's Dictionary of American English © 2015
- to come after in sequence or order;
succeed: [~ + object]Night follows day, and day follows night.[no object]You lead and I'll follow.
- to happen after something else; come next as an event or result: [no obj]:After the defeat, great disorder followed.[ ~ + obj]:Flooding followed the storm.
- to go or come after; move behind in the same direction: [~ + object]Drive ahead, and I'll follow you.[no object]Drive ahead and I'll follow.
- [~ + object] to conform to, comply with, or act in accordance with; obey:to follow orders.
- [~ + object] to move forward along:We followed the road to Gaston.
- [~ + object] to go in pursuit of:The police followed the fleeing suspects.
- [~ + object] to engage in or be concerned with as a pursuit:to follow an ideal.
- [~ + object] to watch the development or progress of:to follow the news.
- [not: be + ~-ing] to keep up with and understand (an argument, story, etc.): [~ + object]I can't follow your argument. Do you follow me?[no object]That's the explanation; can you follow?
- [not: be + ~-ing] to result logically as an effect: [no object]That can't be right —it just doesn't follow.[~ + from + object]That conclusion does not follow from your premise.[It + ~ + that clause]It follows naturally that they must be innocent.
- to carry out fully, such as a stroke in golf or tennis.
- to continue an effort, plan, proposal, policy, etc., to its completion:He followed through on every assignment we gave him.
- to increase the effectiveness of by further action or repetition: [~ + up + object]He followed up the aerobics with stretching exercises.[~ + object + up]followed them up with stretching exercises.
- [~ + up ( + on) + object] to pursue:I'd like to follow up (on) that question.
- to come after in sequence, order of time, etc.:The speech follows the dinner.
- to go or come after; move behind in the same direction:Drive ahead, and I'll follow you.
- to accept as a guide or leader;
accept the authority of or give allegiance to:Many Germans followed Hitler.
- to conform to, comply with, or act in accordance with; obey:to follow orders;
to follow advice.
- to imitate or copy;
use as an exemplar:They follow the latest fads.
- to move forward along (a road, path, etc.):Follow this road for a mile.
- to come after as a result or consequence; result from:Reprisals often follow victory.
- to go after or along with (a person) as companion.
- to go in pursuit of:to follow an enemy.
- to try for or attain to:to follow an ideal.
- to engage in or be concerned with as a pursuit:He followed the sea as his true calling.
- to watch the movements, progress, or course of:to follow a bird in flight.
- to watch the development of or keep up with:to follow the news.
- to keep up with and understand (an argument, story, etc.):Do you follow me?
occur as a consequence:It follows then that he must be innocent.
- to carry out fully, as a stroke of a club in golf, a racket in tennis, etc.
- to continue an effort, plan, proposal, policy, etc., to its completion.
- to pursue closely and tenaciously.
- to increase the effectiveness of by further action or repetition.
- to pursue to a solution or conclusion.
Middle English folwen, Old English folgian;
cognate with Old Saxon folgon, Old High German folgēn, folgōn (German folgen)
Follow, ensue, result, succeed imply coming after something else, in a natural sequence. Follow is the general word:We must wait to see what follows. A detailed account follows.Ensue implies a logical sequence, what might be expected normally to come after a given act, cause, etc.:When the power lines were cut, a paralysis of transportation ensued.Result emphasizes the connection between a cause or event and its effect, consequence, or outcome:The accident resulted in injuries to those involved.Succeed implies coming after in time, particularly coming into a title, office, etc.:Formerly the oldest son succeeded to his father's title.