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From Middle English folwen, folȝen, folgen, from Old English folgian, fylġan (to follow, pursue), from Proto-Germanic *fulgijaną (to follow). Cognate with Scots folow, falow (to follow) Saterland Frisian foulgje (to follow), West Frisian folgje (to follow), Dutch volgen (to follow), German folgen (to follow), Norwegian Nynorsk fylgja (to follow). More at folk. See also full.



follow (third-person singular simple present follows, present participle following, simple past and past participle followed)

  1. (transitive) To go after; to pursue; to move behind in the same path or direction.
    Follow that car!
  2. (transitive) To go or come after in a sequence.
    B follows A in the alphabet.
    We both ordered the soup, with roast beef to follow.
  3. (transitive) To carry out (orders, instructions, etc.).
    • 1898, Winston Churchill, chapter 4, in The Celebrity:
      The Celebrity, by arts unknown, induced Mrs. Judge Short and two other ladies to call at Mohair on an afternoon when Mr. Cooke was trying a trotter on the track. [] Their example was followed by others at a time when the master of Mohair was superintending in person the docking of some two-year-olds, and equally invisible.
    Follow these instructions to the letter.
  4. (transitive) To live one's life according to (religion, teachings, etc).
  5. (transitive) To understand, to pay attention to.
    Do you follow me?
  6. (transitive) To watch, to keep track of (reports of) some event or person.
    I followed the incumbent throughout the election.
    My friends don't regularly follow the news.
  7. (Internet, transitive) To subscribe to see content from an account on a social media platform.
    If you want to see more of our articles, follow us on Twitter.
  8. (transitive) To be a logical consequence of.
    It follows that if two numbers are not equal then one is larger than the other.
  9. (transitive) To walk in, as a road or course; to attend upon closely, as a profession or calling.
    • Shakespeare
      O, had I but followed the arts!



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follow (plural follows)

  1. (sometimes attributive) In billiards and similar games, a stroke causing a ball to follow another ball after hitting it.
    a follow shot
  2. (Internet) The act of following another user's online activity.
    • 2012, Brett Petersel, ‎Esther Schindler, The Complete Idiot's Guide to Twitter Marketing
      It doesn't take too many follows to become overwhelmed with the deluge of content on Twitter.
    • 2016, Brooke Warner, Green-Light Your Book
      Social media is supervisual, and there's nothing more shareable than images, so this is a way to increase shares and likes and follows.