I. flow 1 S3 W2 /fləʊ $ floʊ/ BrE AmE noun
1 . LIQUID/GAS/ELECTRICITY [countable usually singular] a smooth steady movement of liquid, gas, or electricity
He struggled to swim against the flow of the water.
I tied a towel round his leg to try to stem the flow of blood.
2 . TRAFFIC [countable usually singular, uncountable] the steady movement of traffic:
a new road system to improve traffic flow through the city centre
3 . GOODS/PEOPLE/INFORMATION [countable usually singular] the movement of goods, people, or information from one place to another
the flow of funds from the US to Europe
There has been a steady flow of people leaving the area.
They have accused the government of trying to block the free flow of information.
an attempt to stem the flow of refugees across the border
4 . SPEECH/WRITING [uncountable] the continuous stream of words or ideas when someone is speaking, writing, or thinking about something:
I didn’t want to interrupt her flow, so I said nothing.
5 . OF THE SEA [singular] the regular movement of the sea towards the land:
the ebb and flow of the tide
6 . in full flow informal if someone is in full flow, they are busy talking about something and seem likely to continue for a long time
7 . go with the flow to agree that you will do the thing that most people want to do:
I don’t mind, I’ll just go with the flow.
8 . go against the flow to do something very different from what other people are doing
⇨ ↑ cash flow , ⇨ ebb and flow at ↑ ebb 1 (3)
II. flow 2 W3 BrE AmE verb [intransitive]
[ Language: Old English ; Origin: flowan ]
1 . LIQUID/GAS/ELECTRICITY when a liquid, gas, or electricity flows, it moves in a steady continuous stream
flow over/down/through etc
These gates regulate the amount of water flowing into the canal.
If the windows are shut, air cannot flow freely through the building.
2 . GOODS/PEOPLE/INFORMATION [always + adverb/preposition] if goods, people, or information flow from one place to another, they move there in large numbers or amounts SYN pour , flood :
Money has been flowing into the country from Western aid agencies.
The number of refugees flowing into the area is still increasing.
3 . TRAFFIC if traffic flows, it moves easily from one place to another:
The new one-way system should help the traffic to flow better.
4 . ALCOHOL if alcohol flows at a party, people drink a lot and there is a lot available:
Beer and whisky flowed freely as the evening wore on.
5 . WORDS/IDEAS if conversation or ideas flow, people talk or have ideas steadily and continuously, without anything stopping or interrupting them:
Everyone was relaxed and the conversation flowed freely.
6 . SEA when the sea flows, it moves towards the land:
We watched the tide ebb and flow.
7 . FEELINGS if a feeling flows through you or over you, you feel it strongly
She felt hot rage flowing through her.
8 . CLOTHES/HAIR if clothing or hair flows, it falls or hangs loosely and gracefully:
Her long hair flowed down her back.
9 . flow from something to happen as a result of something:
the political consequences that flowed from this decision
• • •
▪ flow if liquid flows, it moves in a steady continuous stream:
Blood flowed from his hand.
The river flows very quickly at this point.
▪ run to flow – used when saying that something flows in a particular direction:
Water was running down the walls of the room.
Sweat ran off his nose.
The river runs into the sea.
▪ come out to flow out of something:
You couldn't drink any of the water that came out of the tap.
▪ pour to flow in large quantities:
The rain poured down.
Blood was pouring from a wound on his head.
▪ gush to flow out quickly in very large quantities:
Water was gushing out at more than 3000 gallons a minute.
▪ spurt to flow out suddenly with a lot of force:
Oil was spurting from a small hole in the pipe.
▪ trickle to flow slowly in drops or in a thin stream:
Clare felt sweat trickling down the back of her neck.
▪ leak to flow in or out through a small hole or crack, usually when this is not meant to happen:
Oil was leaking from the engine.
▪ ooze to flow from something very slowly – used about blood or a thick liquid:
Blood was oozing from the wound.
Jam oozed out as she bit into the cake.
▪ drip to fall in drops:
Water dripped from the tap continuously.
▪ cascade to flow down the side of something in large amounts:
Water cascades down the hilllside.