Definition of follow verb from the Oxford Advanced Learner's Dictionary



    BrE BrE//ˈfɒləʊ//
    ; NAmE NAmE//ˈfɑːloʊ//
    Verb Forms present simple I / you / we / they follow
    BrE BrE//ˈfɒləʊ//
    ; NAmE NAmE//ˈfɑːloʊ//
    he / she / it follows
    BrE BrE//ˈfɒləʊz//
    ; NAmE NAmE//ˈfɑːloʊz//
    past simple followed
    BrE BrE//ˈfɒləʊd//
    ; NAmE NAmE//ˈfɑːloʊd//
    past participle followed
    BrE BrE//ˈfɒləʊd//
    ; NAmE NAmE//ˈfɑːloʊd//
    -ing form following
    BrE BrE//ˈfɒləʊɪŋ//
    ; NAmE NAmE//ˈfɑːloʊɪŋ//
    Social networking
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    go after
  1. 1  [transitive, intransitive] follow (somebody/something) to come or go after or behind somebody/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/somebody else in time or order; to happen as a result of something else The first two classes are 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 UK dates next month.
  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've 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. I'll have soup and fish to follow.
  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 lane follows the edge of a wood 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 somebody/something as a guide, a leader or an example; to copy somebody/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. Sorry, I don't follow you. follow something The plot is almost impossible to follow. Synonymsunderstandsee 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 somebody 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 still don’t understand much about the disease.see to understand what is happening, what somebody is saying, how something works or how important something is:‘It opens like this.’ ‘Oh, I see.’ Oh yes, I see what you mean.get (informal) to understand a joke, what somebody 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. 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, idea or reason:The concept of infinity is almost impossible for the human mind to comprehend.Patterns to understand/​see/​get/​follow/​grasp/​comprehend what/​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 somebody/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. 13to choose to regularly receive messages from a person, company, etc. using a microblogging service I don’t follow many celebrities on Twitter any more. See related entries: Social networking
  23. of book/movie
  24. 14[transitive] follow something to be concerned with the life or development of somebody/something The novel follows the fortunes of a village community in Scotland.
  25. pattern/course
  26. 15[transitive] follow something to develop or happen in a particular way The day followed the usual pattern.
  27. Word OriginOld English folgian, of Germanic origin; related to Dutch volgen and German folgen.Extra examples As she walked home, she had the feeling she was being followed. Banks are expected to follow the building societies in raising mortgage rates. Follow my instructions very carefully. He wanted to follow in his mother’s footsteps and be a ballroom dancer. His argument was difficult to follow. How do your feel your writing follows in the tradition of the South? I’m sorry, but I don’t quite follow you. It does not necessarily follow that sleep loss would cause these symptoms. It wasn’t in his nature to follow blindly. Johnson finished first, closely followed by Stevens and Higgins. More information will follow shortly. Other companies are likely to follow Z-Quest in applying for an exemption. Ray came out of the bedroom, Mary following close behind. Several conclusions follow on from his statement. She beckoned him to follow her. She followed blindly, stumbling over stones in her path. The dog followed obediently at her heels. The film follows the book faithfully. The next programme will follow shortly. You go ahead and we’ll follow on later. in the period immediately following the election slavishly following the views of his teachers the workers’ revolts that followed in the wake of the student uprising A period of unrest followed the president’s resignation. Follow me, please. I’ll show you the way. He always followed the latest fashions. He has trouble following simple instructions. I didn’t really follow the recipe. I don’t follow you. I don’t want you to follow my example and rush into marriage. I think we’re being followed. Our opening hours are as follows… She walked in and we all followed. Sorry—I don’t quite follow. The movie can be quite hard to follow in parts. The plot is almost impossible to follow. There followed a short silence. Why didn’t you follow my advice?Idioms
    follow in somebody’s footsteps
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    to do the same job, have the same style of life, etc. as somebody else, especially somebody in your family She works in television, following in her father's footsteps.
    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
    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 somebody else has just done
    a hard/tough act to follow
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    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 aboutfollow onfollow throughfollow through (with something)follow somethingup
See the Oxford Advanced American Dictionary entry: follow