Definition of flow noun from the Oxford Advanced Learner's Dictionary



    BrE BrE//fləʊ//
    ; NAmE NAmE//floʊ//
    [countable, usually singular, uncountable] Coastlines and the sea
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    continuous movement
  1. 1  flow (of something/somebody) the steady and continuous movement of something/somebody in one direction She tried to stop the flow of blood from the wound. an endless flow of refugees into the country to improve traffic flow (= make it move faster) to control the direction of flow a steady flow of traffic through the city the flow of an electric current
  2. production/supply
  3. 2  flow (of something) the continuous production or supply of something the flow of goods and services to remote areas to encourage the free flow of information data flow see also cash flow
  4. of speech/writing
  5. 3continuous talk by somebody You've interrupted my flow—I can't remember what I was saying. As usual, Tom was in full flow.
  6. 4flow of something the way that words and ideas are linked together in speech or writing Too many examples can interrupt the smooth flow of the text. I found it hard to follow the flow of the argument.
  7. of the sea
  8. 5the movement of the sea towards the land the ebb and flow of the tide See related entries: Coastlines and the sea
  9. Word OriginOld English flōwan, of Germanic origin; related to Dutch vloeien, also to flood.Extra examples Changes in the flow of patients have reduced the number of beds available. First cut off the water flow from the boiler. He kept up a flow of chatter. He was at the mercy of the ebb and flow of public opinion. I liked the concerto for its natural flow. Our shower doesn’t work very well because of the poor water flow. She joined the flow of immigrants to the country. She tried to interrupt his speech, but he was already in full flow. Squeeze the tube of sealant slowly to obtain an even flow. The company is trying to enhance its cash flow. The continual bombing disrupted the flow of supplies to the ground troops. The flow rate was measured at 9.5 gallons per second. The main flow of water has been diverted to a new course. The system provides a continuous flow of information to the market. They have to swim against the flow of the river. They tried to staunch the flow of blood. Use a wide pipe to ensure an adequate flow of water. We like to allow a free flow of ideas in our company. a constant flow of information air flows around the wings of an aircraft information flow among all the different groups the flow of data through the system the outward flow of investment from the country the rate of flow of water through the pipe the uninterrupted flow of traffic to encourage the flow of revenue into the country to maintain an even flow of work through the department An uninterrupted flow of traffic prevented us from getting to the other side. He was able to take advantage of the ebb and flow of politics to consolidate his position. The flow of adrenalin can help the mind to react quickly in a moment of stress. The whole operation depends on a steady flow of electricity. There was a continuous flow of refugees across the border. There was a swift flow of air through the room. They extended the raids in an attempt to interrupt the flow of men and supplies to the enemy lines. We need further measures to increase traffic flow.Idioms
    the ebb and flow (of something/somebody)
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    the repeated, often regular, movement from one state to another; the repeated change in level, numbers or amount the ebb and flow of the seasons She sat in silence enjoying the ebb and flow of conversation. He had known her long enough to recognize the ebb and flow of her moods.
    (informal) to be relaxed and not worry about what you should do
See the Oxford Advanced American Dictionary entry: flow