[fol-oh-throo, -throo]


the completion of a motion, as in the stroke of a tennis racket.
the portion of such a motion after the ball has been hit.
the act of continuing a plan, project, scheme, or the like to its completion.

Origin of follow-through

First recorded in 1895–1900; noun use of verb phrase follow through



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).

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.

Origin of follow

before 900; Middle English folwen, Old English folgian; cognate with Old Saxon folgon, Old High German folgēn, folgōn (German folgen)
Related formsfol·low·a·ble, adjectiveun·fol·low·a·ble, adjectiveun·fol·lowed, adjectivewell-fol·lowed, adjective

Synonyms for follow

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.

Antonyms for follow

1. precede. 2, 3. lead. 4. disregard. 9. flee. Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Related Words for follow through

complete, conclude, consummate, pursue

British Dictionary definitions for follow through

follow through

verb (adverb)

sport to complete (a stroke or shot) by continuing the movement to the end of its arc
(tr) to pursue (an aim) to a conclusion

noun follow-through

  1. the act of following through
  2. the part of the stroke after the ball has been hit
the completion of a procedure, esp after a first action



to go or come after in the same directionhe followed his friend home
(tr) to accompany; attendshe followed her sister everywhere
to come after as a logical or natural consequence
(tr) to keep to the course or track ofshe followed the towpath
(tr) to act in accordance with; obeyto follow instructions
(tr) 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 continuouslyshe followed his progress carefully
(tr) to have a keen interest into follow athletics
(tr) to help in the cause of or accept the leadership ofthe men who followed Napoleon
(tr) to choose to receive messages posted by (a blogger or microblogger)I've been following her online
(tr) rare to earn a living at or into follow the Navy
follow suit cards
  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 Formsfollowable, adjective

Word Origin for follow

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

Word Origin and History for follow through



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].



1897, of golf swings, from verbal phrase follow through. Figurative use from 1926.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

Idioms and Phrases with follow through

follow through


In sports such as tennis or golf, carry a stroke to completion after striking the ball. For example, You don't follow through on your backhand, so it goes into the net. [Late 1800s]


Carry an object, project, or intention to completion; pursue fully. For example, She followed through on her promise to reorganize the department. Also see follow up, def. 1.


In addition to the idioms beginning with follow

  • follow along
  • follow in someone's footsteps
  • follow one's nose
  • follow out
  • follow suit
  • follow the crowd
  • follow through
  • follow up

also see:

  • as follows
  • camp follower
  • hard act to follow
The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.