Meaning of FOLLOW in English


fol ‧ low S1 W1 /ˈfɒləʊ $ ˈfɑːloʊ/ BrE AmE verb

[ Word Family: noun : ↑ follower , ↑ following ; verb : ↑ follow ; adjective : ↑ following ]

[ Language: Old English ; Origin: folgian ]

1 . GO AFTER [intransitive and transitive] to go, walk, drive etc behind or after someone else:

Are those men following us?

The patrol car followed the BMW for a few miles and then lost it.

Tom’s already gone out to Rome and his wife and children will follow shortly.

follow somebody into/to etc something

Peggy followed her out onto the landing.

2 . HAPPEN AFTER [intransitive and transitive] to happen or do something after something else:

The agreement followed months of negotiation.

The assassination of Martin Luther King in 1968 was followed by that of Robert Kennedy.

there follows something

After weeks of intense fighting, there followed a brief period of calm.

Most EU countries have signed the agreement and the US is expected to follow shortly (=soon) .

⇨ ↑ following 3

3 . COME AFTER [intransitive and transitive] to come directly after something else in a series, list, or order ⇨ following :

The chapters that follow deal mainly with mathematics.

In English, the letter Q is always followed by U.

We had vegetable casserole with a fruit salad to follow (=as part of a meal) .

there follows something

There followed several pages of incomprehensible statistics.

4 . as follows used to introduce a list of things that you will mention next:

The winners are as follows: in third place, Mandy Johnson; in second place ...

5 . DO WHAT SOMEBODY SAYS [transitive] to do something in the way that someone has told or advised you to do it:

He followed the doctor’s advice and had no further trouble.

Follow the instructions very carefully when filling in the form.

They followed the plan that Elizabeth had worked out.

6 . follow the signs/sb’s directions to go somewhere by a particular way according to road signs or to what someone has told you:

Just follow the signs for the airport.

I followed Brown’s directions and found the farm quite easily.

7 . DO THE SAME THING [intransitive and transitive] to do the same thing as someone else:

Some state schools follow the example of private schools in asking parents to donate money.

Environmentalists are urging the government to follow the lead of Scandinavian countries in this matter.

She’s just like any young woman who enjoys following the latest fashions (=wearing fashionable clothes) .

follow somebody into something (=do the same job as someone else)

He does not want to follow his father into a scientific career.

8 . BELIEVE IN SOMETHING [transitive] to believe in and obey a particular set of religious or political ideas


a) to continue along a particular road, river etc:

I followed the main road up the mountain.

Tom followed the track that leads to the old Roman road.

b) to go in the same direction as something else, or to go parallel to something else:

The road follows the line of the river.

10 . UNDERSTAND [intransitive and transitive] to understand something such as an explanation or story SYN grasp :

I didn’t quite follow what he was saying.

easy/difficult/hard etc to follow

The plot is a little difficult to follow.

11 . BE A RESULT [intransitive] to be true as a result of something else that is true

follow from

The conclusion that follows from these findings is that inner city schools need more investment, not less.

It doesn’t necessarily follow that you’re going to do well academically even if you’re highly intelligent.

12 . BE INTERESTED [transitive] to be interested in something and in the way it develops:

Have you been following that crime series on TV?

I’ve been following his progress very closely.

She just doesn’t understand people who follow football or any other kind of sport.

13 . follow a pattern/course/trend etc to continue to happen or develop in a particular way, especially in a way that is expected:

In Australia, the weather follows a fairly predictable pattern.

14 . follow suit to do the same as someone else has done:

Budget companies have been so successful that other airlines have had to follow suit and lower their fares.

15 . follow in sb’s footsteps to do the same job or to work or live in the same way as someone else before you, especially someone in your family:

He is a doctor and expects his son to follow in his footsteps.

16 . BE ABOUT [transitive] to show or describe someone’s life or a series of events, for example in a film or book:

The book follows the plight of an orphaned Irish girl who marries into New York society.

17 . be a hard act to follow to be so good or successful at something that it will be difficult for the next person, team etc to be as good:

We’re looking for a replacement for Sue, but she’s going to be a hard act to follow.

18 . WATCH CAREFULLY [transitive] to carefully watch someone do something:

She followed Simon with her eyes as he walked to the gate.

19 . THINK ABOUT/STUDY [transitive] to study or think about a particular idea or subject and try to learn something from it:

It turned out we were both following the same line of research.

If you follow that idea to its logical conclusion, we’d have to ban free speech altogether.

20 . follow your instincts/feelings/gut reaction etc to do the thing that you immediately feel is best without needing to stop and think about it

21 . follow the herd/crowd to do the same thing that most other people are doing, without really thinking about it for yourself – used in order to show disapproval

22 . follow your nose informal

a) to go straight forward or continue in the same direction:

Just follow your nose until you come to a small bridge.

b) to go to the place from where there is a particular smell coming:

I followed my nose to the kitchen, where Marcie was making coffee.

c) to do something in the way that you feel is right:

After a few years in the detective game, you learn to follow your nose.

23 . follow a profession/trade/way of life etc to do a particular job or have a particular way of life

• • •


▪ follow to walk, drive etc behind or after someone, for example in order to see where they are going:

The man had followed her home to find out where she lived.


Follow that car!


He hired a detective to follow her.

▪ chase to quickly run or drive after someone or something in order to catch them when they are trying to escape:

Police chased the car along the motorway at speeds of up to 90 mph.

▪ run after somebody/go after somebody to quickly follow someone or something in order to stop them or talk to them:

I ran after him to say sorry, but he’d already got on the bus.

▪ stalk /stɔːk $ stɒːk/ to secretly follow an animal in order to kill it, or to secretly follow a person in order to attack them:

a tiger stalking its prey


He had a long history of stalking women in his neighbourhood.

▪ pursue /pəˈsjuː $ pərˈsuː/ written to chase someone in a very determined way:

The ship was being pursued by enemy submarines.

▪ give chase written to chase someone or something who is trying to escape from you:

One of the officers gave chase and arrested the man.


The calf ran away and the lion gave chase.

▪ tail to secretly follow someone in order to watch what they do and where they go:

Apparently, the police had been tailing the terrorists for months.

▪ track to follow and find a person or animal by looking at the marks they leave on the ground:

The bushmen were tracking antelope in the Kalahari desert.

follow somebody around ( also follow somebody about British English ) phrasal verb

to follow someone everywhere they go, especially when this is annoying:

She told him to go away and stop following her around.

follow on phrasal verb

1 . to happen after something else and be connected with it ⇨ follow-on

follow on from

The discussion sessions are supposed to follow on from this morning’s lecture.

2 . to go to the same place as someone else at a later time:

You go ahead – I’ll follow on later.

follow through phrasal verb

1 . to do what needs to be done to complete something or make it successful:

The project went wrong when the staff failed to follow through.

follow something ↔ through

If you have followed through all the exercises in this book, you should be ready for the second year course.

2 . to continue moving your arm after you have hit the ball in tennis, ↑ golf etc ⇨ follow-through

follow something ↔ up phrasal verb

1 . to find out more information about something and take action if necessary:

The police take people’s statements and then follow them up.

2 . to do something in addition to what you have already done in order to make it more likely to succeed ⇨ follow-up

follow something ↔ up with

If there is no response to your press release, follow it up with a phone call.

This experiment was quickly followed up by others using different forms of the drug.

⇨ ↑ follow-up

Longman Dictionary of Contemporary English.      Longman - Словарь современного английского языка.