the act of following up.
an action or thing that serves to increase the effectiveness of a previous one, as a second or subsequent letter, phone call, or visit.
Also called follow. Journalism.
a news story providing additional information on a story or article previously published.
Also called sidebar, supplementary story. a minor news story used to supplement a related story of major importance. Compare feature story ( def 1 ), human-interest story, shirttail.
designed or serving to follow up, especially to increase the effectiveness of a previous action: a follow-up interview; a follow-up offer.
of or pertaining to action that follows an initial treatment, course of study, etc.: follow-up care for mental patients; a follow-up survey.

1920–25; noun, adj. use of verb phrase follow up Unabridged


verb (used with object)
to come after in sequence, order of time, etc.: The speech follows the dinner.
to go or come after; move behind in the same direction: Drive ahead, and I'll follow you.
to accept as a guide or leader; accept the authority of or give allegiance to: Many Germans followed Hitler.
to conform to, comply with, or act in accordance with; obey: to follow orders; to follow advice.
to imitate or copy; use as an exemplar: They follow the latest fads.
to move forward along (a road, path, etc.): Follow this road for a mile.
to come after as a result or consequence; result from: Reprisals often follow victory.
to go after or along with (a person) as companion.
to go in pursuit of: to follow an enemy.
to try for or attain to: to follow an ideal.
to engage in or be concerned with as a pursuit: He followed the sea as his true calling.
to watch the movements, progress, or course of: to follow a bird in flight.
to watch the development of or keep up with: to follow the news.
to keep up with and understand (an argument, story, etc.): Do you follow me?
verb (used without object)
to come next after something else in sequence, order of time, etc.
to happen or occur after something else; come next as an event: After the defeat great disorder followed.
to attend or serve.
to go or come after a person or thing in motion.
to result as an effect; occur as a consequence: It follows then that he must be innocent.
the act of following.
Billiards, Pool. follow shot ( def 2 ).
follow-up ( def 3 ).
Verb phrases
follow out, to carry to a conclusion; execute: They followed out their orders to the letter.
follow through,
to carry out fully, as a stroke of a club in golf, a racket in tennis, etc.
to continue an effort, plan, proposal, policy, etc., to its completion.
follow up,
to pursue closely and tenaciously.
to increase the effectiveness of by further action or repetition.
to pursue to a solution or conclusion.
follow suit. suit ( def 21 ).

before 900; Middle English folwen, Old English folgian; cognate with Old Saxon folgon, Old High German folgēn, folgōn (German folgen)

followable, adjective
unfollowable, adjective
unfollowed, adjective
well-followed, adjective

3. obey. 4. heed, observe. 8. accompany, attend. 9. pursue, chase; trail, track, trace. 19. arise, proceed. Follow, ensue, result, succeed imply coming after something else, in a natural sequence. Follow is the general word: We must wait to see what follows. A detailed account follows. Ensue implies a logical sequence, what might be expected normally to come after a given act, cause, etc.: When the power lines were cut, a paralysis of transportation ensued. Result emphasizes the connection between a cause or event and its effect, consequence, or outcome: The accident resulted in injuries to those involved. Succeed implies coming after in time, particularly coming into a title, office, etc.: Formerly the oldest son succeeded to his father's title.

1. precede. 2, 3. lead. 4. disregard. 9. flee. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
Cite This Source Link To follow up
World English Dictionary
follow (ˈfɒləʊ)
1.  to go or come after in the same direction: he followed his friend home
2.  (tr) to accompany; attend: she followed her sister everywhere
3.  to come after as a logical or natural consequence
4.  (tr) to keep to the course or track of: she followed the towpath
5.  (tr) to act in accordance with; obey: to follow instructions
6.  (tr) to accept the ideas or beliefs of (a previous authority, etc): he followed Donne in most of his teachings
7.  to understand (an explanation, argument, etc): the lesson was difficult to follow
8.  to watch closely or continuously: she followed his progress carefully
9.  (tr) to have a keen interest in: to follow athletics
10.  (tr) to help in the cause of or accept the leadership of: the men who followed Napoleon
11.  rare (tr) to earn a living at or in: to follow the Navy
12.  cards follow suit
 a.  to play a card of the same suit as the card played immediately before it
 b.  to do the same as someone else
13.  billiards, snooker
 a.  a forward spin imparted to a cue ball causing it to roll after the object ball
 b.  a shot made in this way
[Old English folgian; related to Old Frisian folgia, Old Saxon folgōn, Old High German folgēn]

follow up
1.  to pursue or investigate (a person, evidence, etc) closely
2.  to continue (action) after a beginning, esp to increase its effect
3.  a.  something done to reinforce an initial action
 b.  (as modifier): a follow-up letter
4.  med a routine examination of a patient at various intervals after medical or surgical treatment

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition
2009 © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009
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Word Origin & History

O.E. folgian, fylgan "follow, pursue," also "obey, apply oneself to a practice or calling," from W.Gmc. *fulg- (cf. O.Fris. folgia, M.Du. volghen, Ger. folgen "to follow"). Probably originally a compound of *full-gan with a sense of "full-going;" the sense then shifting to "serve, go with as an attendant"
(cf. fulfill). Related: Followed; following. To follow through is from 1897, a metaphor from golf swings. To follow one's nose "go straight on" first attested 1640s.

follow up
also follow-up, 1923, originally in the argot of personnel management.
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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American Heritage
Idioms & Phrases

follow up

  1. Carry to completion. For example, I'm following up their suggestions with concrete proposals. Also see follow through.

  2. Increase the effectiveness or enhance the success of something by further action. For example, She followed up her interview with a phone call. [Late 1700s]

The American Heritage® Dictionary of Idioms by Christine Ammer.
Copyright © 1997. Published by Houghton Mifflin.
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Example sentences
Follow up on the homework reading, and then move to these activities.
The authors plan to follow up with studies of infants and perhaps other animal
Not only will he repeat and follow up his stroke, but the nation will add its
  irresistible strength.
Individual users were simply asked to follow up with external political action.
Idioms & Phrases
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