See more synonyms for following on
  1. a body of followers, attendants, adherents, etc.
  2. the body of admirers, attendants, patrons, etc., of someone or something: That television show has a large following.
  3. the following, that which comes immediately after, as pages, lines, etc.: See the following for a list of exceptions.
  1. that follows or moves in the same direction: a following wind.
  2. that comes after or next in order or time; ensuing: the following day.
  3. that is now to follow; now to be mentioned, described, related, or the like: Check the following report for details.

Origin of following

First recorded in 1250–1300, following is from the Middle English word folwing. See follow, -ing1, -ing2
Related formsnon·fol·low·ing, adjective


verb (used with object)
  1. to come after in sequence, order of time, etc.: The speech follows the dinner.
  2. to go or come after; move behind in the same direction: Drive ahead, and I'll follow you.
  3. to accept as a guide or leader; accept the authority of or give allegiance to: Many Germans followed Hitler.
  4. to conform to, comply with, or act in accordance with; obey: to follow orders; to follow advice.
  5. to imitate or copy; use as an exemplar: They follow the latest fads.
  6. to move forward along (a road, path, etc.): Follow this road for a mile.
  7. to come after as a result or consequence; result from: Reprisals often follow victory.
  8. to go after or along with (a person) as companion.
  9. to go in pursuit of: to follow an enemy.
  10. to try for or attain to: to follow an ideal.
  11. to engage in or be concerned with as a pursuit: He followed the sea as his true calling.
  12. to watch the movements, progress, or course of: to follow a bird in flight.
  13. to watch the development of or keep up with: to follow the news.
  14. to keep up with and understand (an argument, story, etc.): Do you follow me?
verb (used without object)
  1. to come next after something else in sequence, order of time, etc.
  2. to happen or occur after something else; come next as an event: After the defeat great disorder followed.
  3. to attend or serve.
  4. to go or come after a person or thing in motion.
  5. to result as an effect; occur as a consequence: It follows then that he must be innocent.
  1. the act of following.
  2. Billiards, Pool. follow shot(def 2).
  3. follow-up(def 3).
Verb Phrases
  1. follow out, to carry to a conclusion; execute: They followed out their orders to the letter.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  1. 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 formsfol·low·a·ble, adjectiveun·fol·low·a·ble, adjectiveun·fol·lowed, adjectivewell-fol·lowed, adjective

Synonyms for follow

See more synonyms for on
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. 2018

Examples from the Web for following

Contemporary Examples of following

Historical Examples of following

  • The boy shouldered the carpetbag and started in advance, Robert following.

    Brave and Bold

    Horatio Alger

  • After following Lake Barlee for nine miles, it turned to the southward.

  • Therefore you get the following sentence, "I believe I saw a giraffe."

    Ancient Man

    Hendrik Willem van Loon

  • Sparrow could have all the money he needed upon the following condition.

    Ancient Man

    Hendrik Willem van Loon

  • Many tracks were seen, following mine and Windich's for several miles.

British Dictionary definitions for following


    1. (prenominal)about to be mentioned, specified, etcthe following items
    2. (as noun)will the following please raise their hands?
  1. (of winds, currents, etc) moving in the same direction as the course of a vessel
  1. a group of supporters or enthusiastshe attracted a large following wherever he played
  1. as a result ofhe was arrested following a tip-off


The use of following to mean as a result of is very common in journalism, but should be avoided in other kinds of writing


  1. to go or come after in the same directionhe followed his friend home
  2. (tr) to accompany; attendshe followed her sister everywhere
  3. to come after as a logical or natural consequence
  4. (tr) to keep to the course or track ofshe followed the towpath
  5. (tr) to act in accordance with; obeyto 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 continuouslyshe followed his progress carefully
  9. (tr) to have a keen interest into follow athletics
  10. (tr) to help in the cause of or accept the leadership ofthe men who followed Napoleon
  11. (tr) to choose to receive messages posted by (a blogger or microblogger)I've been following her online
  12. (tr) rare to earn a living at or into follow the Navy
  13. 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
  1. 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 following

c.1300, verbal noun from follow (v.). Meaning "a body of disciples or retainers" is from mid-15c.



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

Idioms and Phrases with following


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.