Also found in: Dictionary, Thesaurus, Medical, Legal, Acronyms, Encyclopedia, Wikipedia.
Like this video? Subscribe to our free daily email and get a new idiom video every day!
follow (someone or something) in stride
To follow the direction, lead, or guidance (of someone or something); to act in accordance (with someone or something); to follow suit. I hope your little sister doesn't follow your bad behavior in stride. If you can develop a really strong social presence for your company, then your sales will follow in stride. I really hope the new president doesn't follow his predecessor in stride.
follow in (one's) footsteps
To pursue something that someone else (often a family member) has already done. My father was an engineer, and I plan to follow in his footsteps and study engineering in college. I am following in my sister's footsteps and joining her old sorority.
follow in the footsteps of
To pursue something that someone else (often a family member) has already done. I plan to follow in the footsteps of my father and study engineering in college. We are following in the footsteps of all the members of the sorority that came before us!
follow (one's) nose
1. To walk straight ahead (thus walking in the direction that one's nose is facing). A: "Should I turn here?" B: "No, follow your nose and keep walking in a straight line—you'll be at my house soon enough."
2. To follow a scent, in an attempt to find its source. I thought I smelled something baking, so I followed my nose down to the kitchen and found my mom icing a cake!
3. To trust one's instinct when making a judgment or decision or taking action. I tend to follow my nose when I have a bad feeling about someone, and it's helped me to avoid a lot of drama.
follow the example of
To do something that another person is doing. Growing up, I really tried not to follow the example of my older brother, as he was always getting into trouble. I try to follow the example of Mother Teresa and treat all people with kindness.
follow the sea
To be a sailor; to live a sailor's life. I always assumed that I would follow the sea, like all of the men in my family, but I just didn't have the constitution for that life.
To do the same thing as others, especially by following their example. The phrase comes from card games, where there are four "suits" (diamonds, hearts, spades, and clubs). The people in front of us began to file out of the auditorium, and we followed suit. After that studio made that hit musical, plenty of others tried to follow suit.
1. verb To contact someone an additional time to get more information about something. Please follow up with Ingrid to be sure that the project is still on schedule. The doctor's office never called me back, so I'm going to follow up with them tomorrow.
2. verb To follow an action or event with another action or event. We followed up the doctor's appointment with a trip to the ice cream parlor, as promised.
3. verb To check that something was done properly. In this usage, a noun or pronoun can be used between "follow" and "up." Ben never follows the instructions I give him, so can you please follow up to make sure he does?
4. noun A subsequent appointment, usually with a doctor for the purpose of monitoring something. In this usage, the phrase is often hyphenated. Apparently, my cholesterol levels were a little high, so I have to go back for a follow-up next month.
follow a middle course
To take a moderate approach, as opposed to using extreme measures. Sir, I think you need to avoid making any inflammatory statements on this issue and follow a middle course instead.
1. To do something as others do it. I have no idea how to get out of the stadium, so I'm just following along with the mass of people.
2. To trail closely behind someone or something. When you have a toddler, you can always count on them following along with anything you try to do around the house.
3. To monitor something in order to keep pace with what someone else is doing. I couldn't quite hear what the actors were saying, so I followed along with the closed captions.
1. To trail closely behind someone or something. In this usage, a noun or pronoun is used between "follow" and "out." Make sure the cat doesn't follow you out of the house.
2. To do or accomplish something. If you don't follow out every step exactly the way I showed you, then the experiment won't work.
follow the crowd
To do what everyone else is doing. This phrase often has a negative connotation, suggesting that the speaker is not an independent thinker or is easily swayed. I'm worried that my daughter will just follow the crowd at the party and end up doing things that she doesn't really want to do.
Collectively, the passionate fans of a film, TV show, book, or other creative work, typically one that has not had mainstream success. How did Twin Peaks manage to create a cult following in just two seasons?
follow (someone or something) about
To move or follow close behind someone or something, often in an annoying way. I'm a preschool teacher, so I've had toddlers following me about all day. The interior designer can't get any work done with your puppy constantly following her about!
follow (someone or something) around
To move or follow close behind someone or something, often in an annoying way. I'm a preschool teacher, so I've had toddlers following me around all day. The interior designer can't get any work done with your puppy constantly following her around!
follow in (one's) tracks
To pursue something that someone else (often a family member) has already done. My father was an engineer, and I plan to follow in his tracks and study engineering in college. I am following in my sister's tracks and joining her old sorority.
follow (one's) lead
To act in a manner similar to someone else. I know you're nervous about having to lie to Mom, but just follow my lead and don't start rambling. I am following my sister's lead and joining her old sorority.
1. verb To leave for a destination after someone else has already done so. You guys go ahead—I'll follow on when I'm done cleaning up here.
2. verb To die after someone else has already died. Grandpa died first, and Grandma followed on about six months later.
3. noun Something that comes after something else and builds upon it. The phrase is typically hyphenated when used as a noun. This is just a follow-on to our conversation yesterday, to make sure we share the same vision for the décor. French III has to be a follow-on of French II, right?
follow on after (someone or something)
1. To leave for a destination after someone else has already done so. I still have to finish cleaning up here, so you guys go on ahead, and I'll follow on after you.
2. To die after someone else has already died. Grandpa died first, and Grandma followed on after him about six month later.
To act in accordance with the instructions that one has been given. Ma'am, I'm not trying to be rude, I'm just following orders from my superior—we need to search this property.
follow on(after someone or something)
1. Lit. to depart and arrive after someone or something. I can't leave now. I will have to follow on after the others. I will follow on later.
2. Fig. to die at a date later than someone or a group. She followed on after her husband a few years later, He died in June and she followed on in August.
to do as one has been instructed. You have to learn to follow orders if you want to be a Marine. I didn't do anything wrong. I was only following orders.
follow someone or something out
to go out right after someone or something. I followed her out and asked her if I could take her home. The dog followed Billy out and went to school with him.
follow someone upand follow up (on someone)
to check on the work that someone has done. I have to follow Sally up and make sure she did everything right. I follow up Sally, checking on her work. I'll follow up on her.
follow something upand follow up (on something)
1. to check something out; to find out more about something. Would you please follow this lead up? It might be important. Please follow up this lead. I'll follow up on it. Yes, please follow up.
2. to make sure that something was done the way it was intended. Please follow this up. I want it done right. Please follow up this business. I'll follow up on it.
to follow in the same pattern; to follow someone else's example. (From card games.) Mary went to work for a bank, and Jane followed suit. Now they are both head cashiers. The Smiths went out to dinner, but the Browns didn't follow suit. They stayed home.
follow the crowd
to do what everyone else is doing. I am an independent thinker. I could never just follow the crowd. When in doubt, I follow the crowd. At least I don't stand out like a fool.
(on someone) Go to follow someone up.
(on someone or something) to find out more about someone or something. Please follow up on Mr. Brown and his activities. Bill, Mr. Smith has a complaint. Would you please follow up on it?
(on something) Go to follow something up.
Move or proceed in accord or in unison with someone. For example, The children followed along with the song, or They followed along with the crowd.
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]
Imitate or do as someone else has done, as in Bill decided to leave for the rest of the day, and Mary followed suit. This term comes from card games in which one must play a card from the same suit as the one led. [Mid-1800s]
follow the crowd
Go along with the majority, do what most others are doing. For example, Make your own decision-don't just follow the crowd.
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]
COMMON If someone follows suit, they do the same thing that someone else has just done. Note: The following expressions refer to the four suits in a pack of cards: diamonds, hearts, clubs, and spades. The company provides childcare for the children of staff members. If only other employers would follow suit. If Tim had a stack of pancakes for breakfast, Emily would follow suit. Note: If you follow suit in a card game, you play a card of the same suit as the previous player.
follow suit1 (in bridge, whist, and other card games) play a card of the suit led. 2 conform to another's actions.
2 2002 History of Scotland The first Earl of Huntly was a Gordon by adoption. Many other lesser men followed suit, assuming the surname of so successful a family.
follow ˈsuitact or behave in the way that somebody else has just done: One of the oil companies put up the price of fuel today, and the others are expected to follow suit.
If you follow suit in card games, you play a card of the same suit (= either hearts, clubs, diamonds or spades) that has just been played.
1. To accompany by following: I went for a walk in the woods, and my cats followed along. Our guide led the hike and we followed him along.
2. To move or act in conjunction with an activity by following an example: The teacher sang and the children followed along.
3. To move or act in conjunction or in parallel with someone or something: I followed along with the speaker by reading the transcript.
1. To fulfill something, especially a command or request; carry something out: The colonel expected the troops to follow out every order without question.
2. To exit a location by following someone or something: The fans followed the movie star out of the studio.
1. To finish something by means of some final action: They followed the performance up with a stunning encore. The writer followed up his first book with a great sequel.
2. follow up on To enhance the effectiveness of something by means of further action: I followed up on the job interview with an email. Did you follow up on their request?
1. Games To play a card of the same suit as the one led.
2. To do as another has done; follow an example.