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[fol-oh] /ˈfɒl oʊ/
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,
  1. to carry out fully, as a stroke of a club in golf, a racket in tennis, etc.
  2. to continue an effort, plan, proposal, policy, etc., to its completion.
follow up,
  1. to pursue closely and tenaciously.
  2. to increase the effectiveness of by further action or repetition.
  3. to pursue to a solution or conclusion.
follow suit. suit (def 21).
Origin of follow
before 900; Middle English folwen, Old English folgian; cognate with Old Saxon folgon, Old High German folgēn, folgōn (German folgen)
Related forms
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. 2015.
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Examples from the Web for follow out
Historical Examples
  • We shall not follow out in detail the shifting phases of the negotiation, but we will come at once to its closing passage.

  • Though the thought came to me, I did not follow out its leading at this time.

    Seek and Find Oliver Optic
  • Is it not to have a high conception of what this great new country should be, and to follow out that ideal with loyalty and truth?

    George Washington, Vol. II Henry Cabot Lodge
  • Still I had done the best I had been able, and it was for me to follow out the plans I had made.

    The Birthright Joseph Hocking
  • How much more clearly you can follow out a train of reasoning!

    In the School-Room John S. Hart
  • I live by my wits, and you by your ability to follow out my directions.

    The Gold Girl James B. Hendryx
  • And in that I cannot fail without failing to follow out the king's intention.

    A Popular History of France From The Earliest Times Francois Pierre Guillaume Guizot
  • But we must not pause to follow out the contrast into details.

  • She could never be depended on to join in their plans, yet she expected them to follow out hers with their whole strength.

  • Then if I decide to follow out your advice, you will come with us?

    Jack at Sea George Manville Fenn
British Dictionary definitions for follow out

follow out

(transitive, adverb) to implement (an idea or action) to a conclusion


to go or come after in the same direction: he followed his friend home
(transitive) to accompany; attend: she followed her sister everywhere
to come after as a logical or natural consequence
(transitive) to keep to the course or track of: she followed the towpath
(transitive) to act in accordance with; obey: to follow instructions
(transitive) to accept the ideas or beliefs of (a previous authority, etc): he followed Donne in most of his teachings
to understand (an explanation, argument, etc): the lesson was difficult to follow
to watch closely or continuously: she followed his progress carefully
(transitive) to have a keen interest in: to follow athletics
(transitive) to help in the cause of or accept the leadership of: the men who followed Napoleon
(transitive) to choose to receive messages posted by (a blogger or microblogger): I've been following her online
(transitive) (rare) to earn a living at or in: to follow the Navy
(cards) follow suit
  1. to play a card of the same suit as the card played immediately before it
  2. to do the same as someone else
(billiards, snooker)
  1. a forward spin imparted to a cue ball causing it to roll after the object ball
  2. a shot made in this way
Derived Forms
followable, adjective
Word Origin
Old English folgian; related to Old Frisian folgia, Old Saxon folgōn, Old High German folgēn
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for follow out



Old English folgian, fylgan "follow, accompany; follow after, pursue," also "obey, apply oneself to a practice or calling," from West Germanic *fulg- (cf. Old Saxon folgon, Old Frisian folgia, Middle Dutch volghen, Dutch volgen, Old High German folgen, German folgen, Old Norse fylgja "to follow").

Probably originally a compound, *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 one's nose "go straight on" first attested 1590s. "The full phrase is, 'Follow your nose, and you are sure to go straight.' " [Farmer].

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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Idioms and Phrases with follow out

follow out

Bring to a conclusion, carry out. For example, The second volume simply followed out the theories presented in the first, or He instructed them to follow out their orders to the letter. This idiom is dying out. [ Mid-1700s ]
The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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