follow - definition and synonyms


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present tense
present participlefollowing
past tensefollowed
past participlefollowed
  1. 1
    [intransitive/transitive] to walk, drive etc behind someone, when you are going in the same direction as them

    Ralph set off down the hill, and I followed.

    follow someone up/down/to/through/into etc:

    Jim opened the door and followed me down the corridor.

    1. a.
      [transitive] to walk, drive etc closely behind someone in order to watch them

      I felt sure that someone was following me.

      I think we’re being followed.

       Synonyms and related words
  2. 2
    [intransitive/transitive] to happen or come after something else

    The six o’clock news follows shortly.

    the days/weeks/years etc that followed:

    In the weeks that followed the situation was very tense.

    be followed by something:

    The wedding will be followed by a reception.

    to follow (=available to be eaten next):

    There’s apple pie and cream to follow.

    there follows something:

    There followed seven months of hard negotiations.

    1. a.
    2. b.
      [transitive] if you follow one thing with another, you do the second after you have done the first

      She followed the success of her first book with another remarkable novel.

  3. 3
    [transitive] to watch where someone or something is going

    His eyes followed the car to the end of the drive.

    1. a.
      to listen carefully to what someone is saying

      He followed every word of the trial.

       Synonyms and related words
  4. 4
    [transitive] to obey an order, or to do what someone has advised you to do

    You must follow a few simple guidelines.

    follow someone’s advice/suggestion:

    She refused to follow our advice.

    follow directions/instructions/orders/rules:

    The manufacturer’s instructions should always be followed carefully.

    1. a.
      [transitive] to go where signs and directions tell you to go

      We followed Joe’s directions and found the house easily.

      Follow the signs for Lancaster.

  5. 5
    [transitive] to go along a road, river etc in the same direction as it does

    Follow the road down the hill into the village.

  6. 6
    [transitive] to be interested in the progress or development of someone or something

    My father’s followed the same football team for 40 years.

    Have you been following the election campaign?

  7. 7
    [transitive] [often in negatives or questions] to understand something, especially something long or complicated

    I couldn’t follow what Professor Hope was saying.

    I’m sorry, I don’t quite follow you.

    easy/difficult to follow:

    Their system is pretty easy to follow.

  8. 8
    [intransitive/transitive] to do the same thing that someone else has done

    What one child does, others will often follow.

    follow someone into something (=decide to do the same job as someone else):

    She decided not to follow her mother into banking.

    follow someone’s example/lead:

    Canada may follow the EU’s example by banning these products.

    follow suit (=do what someone else has done):

    They began to offer takeaway food, and other restaurants followed suit.

  9. 9
    [transitive] if you follow a profession or way of life, you do that job or spend your life in that way
  10. 10
    [transitive] to believe what a religion or system of ideas teaches and to do the things that it tells you to do

    I follow the teachings of the Buddha.

    those who follow Christianity

  11. 11
    [transitive] to happen according to a particular pattern or course

    All the murders have followed the same grisly pattern.

    Up to now, ozone losses have tended to follow a two-year cycle.

  12. 12
    [intransitive] if something follows, it must be true because of something else that is true
    follow from:

    Two important implications follow from this.

    it follows (that):

    It does not necessarily follow that all criminals come from deprived backgrounds.

  13. 13
    [transitive] to deal with the progress or development of someone or something in a book, film, or television programme

    The film follows the adventures of an ant called Flick.

  14. 14
    [transitive] if you follow someone on the online social networking service Twitter, you receive the Tweets that they send

    Take a look at our list of the 40 people you should follow on Twitter.

See also