[ floh ]
/ floʊ /
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See synonyms for: flow / flowed / flowing / flows on Thesaurus.com

verb (used without object)
verb (used with object)
to cause or permit to flow: to flow paint on a wall before brushing.
to cover with water or other liquid; flood.
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Origin of flow

First recorded before 900; (verb) Middle English flowen, Old English flōwan; akin to Middle Low German vlōien, Old Norse flōa; (noun) late Middle English: “surge of a wave,” derivative of the verb

synonym study for flow

1. Flow, gush, spout, spurt refer to certain of the movements characteristic of fluids. Flow is the general term: Water flows. A stream of blood flows. To gush is to rush forth copiously from a cavity, in as large a volume as can issue therefrom, as the result of some strong impelling force: The water will gush out if the main breaks. Spout and spurt both imply the ejecting of a liquid from a cavity by some internal impetus given to it. Spout implies a rather steady, possibly well-defined, jet or stream, not necessarily of long duration but always of considerable force: A whale spouts. Spurt implies a forcible, possibly sudden, spasmodic, or intermittent issue or jet: The liquid spurted out suddenly when the bottle cap was pushed in. Spout applies only to liquids; the other terms apply also to gases.


flow·a·ble, adjectiveflow·a·bil·i·ty, nounre·flow, noun, verbun·der·flow, noun


floe, flow
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023


What is basic definition of flow?

Flow means to move along in a stream, as water does. Flow also means to circulate, as air does. Flow is used as a noun to mean movement as if in a stream. Flow has several other senses as a verb and a noun.

When something flows, it moves like water in a stream. When used literally, flow is almost always used to describe the movement of liquids or things that act like fluids. Flow is also often used figuratively to mean to move smoothly like water or a liquid.

  • Real-life examples: Water flows through pipes. Magma flows out of a volcano. People hope traffic flows through a city so they don’t get stuck in a traffic jam.
  • Used in a sentence: Roger lied so much that the lies flowed out of his mouth. 

Flow is also used in this sense as a noun to mean an act of flowing.

  • Used in a sentence: The huge dam redirects the flow of the river away from the city. 

Flow can also mean to circulate, especially in reference to liquids.

  • Used in a sentence: The heart makes sure blood flows throughout the body.

As a noun, flow means a continuous motion, like the flow of a stream. It usually refers to liquids but can refer to anything, literally or figuratively.

  • Used in a sentence: A flow of shoppers streamed into the mall. 

Where does flow come from?

The first records of flow come from before the 900s. It comes from the Old English verb flōwan. It is related to similar words with the same meaning, such as the Middle Low German vlōien and the Old Norse flōa.

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What are some other forms related to flow?

  • flowing (adjective, present tense verb)
  • flowable (adjective)
  • flowability (noun)
  • reflow (noun, verb)
  • underflow (noun)

What are some synonyms for flow?

What are some words that share a root or word element with flow

What are some words that often get used in discussing flow?

What are some words flow may be commonly confused with?

How is flow used in real life?

Flow is a common word that most often means to move like a streaming liquid.

Try using flow!

Which of the following is a synonym of flow?

A. stop
B. stream
C. radiate
D. orbit

How to use flow in a sentence

British Dictionary definitions for flow

/ (fləʊ) /

verb (mainly intr)

Word Origin for flow

Old English flōwan; related to Old Norse flōa, Middle Low German vlōien, Greek plein to float, Sanskrit plavate he swims
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

Other Idioms and Phrases with flow


see ebb and flow; go with the flow.

The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.