American English

Definition of follow verb from the Oxford Advanced American Dictionary



    Verb Forms present simple I / you / we / they follow
    he / she / it follows
    past simple followed
    -ing form following
    jump to other results
    go after
  1. 1[transitive, intransitive] follow (somebody/something) to come or go after or behind someone or something He followed her into the house. Follow me please. I'll show you the way. I think we're being followed. (figurative) She followed her mother into the medical profession. Wherever she led, they followed. Sam walked in, with the rest of the boys following closely behind.
  2. happen/do after
  3. 2[transitive, intransitive] follow (something/somebody) to come after something or someone else in time or order; to happen as a result of something else The first two classes will be followed by a break of ten minutes. I remember little of the days that followed the accident. A period of unrest followed the president's resignation. A detailed news report will follow shortly. There followed a short silence. The opening hours are as follows A new proposal followed on from the discussions.
  4. 3[transitive] to do something after something else follow something with something Follow your treatment with plenty of rest. follow something up with something They follow up their March show with four more dates next summer.
  5. be result
  6. 4[intransitive, transitive] (not usually used in the progressive tenses) to be the logical result of something follow (from something) I don't see how that follows from what you just said. it follows that… If a = b and b = c, it follows that a = c.
  7. of part of meal
  8. 5[transitive, intransitive] follow (something) to come or be eaten after another part The main course was followed by fresh fruit. This pattern is usually used in the passive.
  9. road/path
  10. 6[transitive] follow something to go along a road, path, etc. Follow this road until you get to the school, then turn left.
  11. 7[transitive] follow something (of a road, path, etc.) to go in the same direction as something or parallel to something The path follows the edge of the woods for about a mile.
  12. advice/instructions
  13. 8[transitive] follow something to accept advice, instructions, etc. and do what you have been told or shown to do to follow a diet/recipe He has trouble following simple instructions. Why didn't you follow my advice?
  14. accept/copy
  15. 9[transitive] follow something to accept someone or something as a guide, a leader, or an example; to copy someone or something They followed the teachings of Buddha. He always followed the latest fashions (= dressed in fashionable clothes). I don't want you to follow my example and rush into marriage. The movie follows the book faithfully.
  16. understand
  17. 10[intransitive, transitive] to understand an explanation or the meaning of something follow (somebody) Sorry, I don't follow. Could you repeat that? I'm not following you. follow something The plot is almost impossible to follow. Thesaurusunderstandsee get follow grasp comprehendThese words all mean to know or realize something, for example why something happens, how something works, or what something means.understand to know or realize the meaning of words, a language, what someone says, etc.; to know or realize how or why something happens, how it works, or why it is important:I don't understand the instructions. Doctors are just beginning to understand the causes of the disease.see to understand what is happening, what someone is saying, how something works, or how important something is:Ah ha—I see how it works now. Oh yes, I see what you mean.get (informal) to understand a joke, what someone is trying to tell you, or a situation that they are trying to describe:She didn't get the joke. I don't get you.follow to understand an explanation, a story, or the meaning of something:Sorry—I don't quite follow what you're saying. The plot is almost impossible to follow.grasp to come to understand a fact, an idea, or how to do something:They failed to grasp the importance of his words.understand or grasp?You can use understand or grasp for the action of realizing the meaning or importance of something for the first time:It's a difficult concept for children to understand/grasp.Only understand can be used to talk about languages, words, or writing:I don't grasp French/the instructions.comprehend (often used in negative statements) (formal) to understand a fact, an idea, or a reason:The concept of infinity is almost impossible for us to comprehend.Patterns to understand/see/get/follow/grasp/comprehend what… to understand/see/get/grasp/comprehend why/how… to understand/see/grasp/comprehend that… to understand/see/get/grasp the point/idea (of something) to be easy/difficult/hard to understand/see/follow/grasp/comprehend to fully understand/see/grasp/comprehend something
  18. watch/listen
  19. 11[transitive] follow somebody/something to watch or listen to someone or something very carefully The children were following every word of the story intently. Her eyes followed him everywhere (= she was looking at him all the time).
  20. be interested in
  21. 12[transitive] follow something to take an active interest in something and be aware of what is happening Have you been following the basketball championships? Millions of people followed the trial on TV.
  22. of book/movie
  23. 13[transitive] follow something to be concerned with the life or development of someone or something The novel follows the fortunes of a small farming community in North Dakota.
  24. pattern/course
  25. 14[transitive] follow something to develop or happen in a particular way The day followed the usual pattern.
  26. Idioms
    follow in somebody's footsteps
    jump to other results
    to do the same job, have the same style of life, etc. as someone else, especially someone in your family She works in television, following in her father's footsteps.
      follow your nose
      jump to other results
    1. 1to be guided by your sense of smell
    2. 2to go straight forward The garage is a mile ahead up the hill—just follow your nose.
    3. 3to act according to what seems right or reasonable, rather than following any particular rules
      follow suit
      jump to other results
    1. 1(in card games) to play a card of the same suit that has just been played
    2. 2to act or behave in the way that someone else has just done
    a hard/tough act to follow
    jump to other results
    a person who is so good or successful at something that it will be difficult for anyone else coming after them to be as good or successful She has been an excellent principal and will be a hard act to follow.
    Phrasal Verbsfollow somebody aroundfollow throughfollow through (with something)follow somethingup
See the Oxford Advanced Learner's Dictionary entry: follow