verb (used without object)
- to move along in a stream: The river flowed slowly to the sea.
- to circulate: blood flowing through one’s veins.
- to stream or well forth: Warmth flows from the sun.
- to issue or proceed from a source: Orders flowed from the office.
- to menstruate.
- to come or go as in a stream: A constant stream of humanity flowed by.
- to proceed continuously and smoothly: Melody flowed from the violin.
- to hang loosely at full length: Her hair flowed over her shoulders.
- to abound in something: The tavern flowed with wine.
- to rise and advance, as the tide (opposed to ebb).
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.
- an act of flowing.
- movement in or as if in a stream.
- the rate of flowing.
- the volume of fluid that flows through a passage of any given section during a unit of time: Oil flow of the well was 500 barrels a day.
- something that flows; stream.
- an outpouring or discharge of something, as in a stream: a flow of blood.
- an overflowing; flood.
- the rise of the tide (opposed to ebb).
- Machinery. progressive distortion of a metal object under continuous service at high temperature.
- Physics. the transference of energy: heat flow.
verb (mainly intr)
- (of liquids) to move or be conveyed as in a stream
- (of blood) to circulate around the body
- to move or progress freely as if in a streamthe crowd flowed into the building
- to proceed or be produced continuously and effortlesslyideas flowed from her pen
- to show or be marked by smooth or easy movement
- to hang freely or looselyher hair flowed down her back
- to be present in abundancewine flows at their parties
- an informal word for menstruate
- (of tide water) to advance or riseCompare ebb (def. 1)
- (tr) to cover or swamp with liquid; flood
- (of rocks such as slate) to yield to pressure without breaking so that the structure and arrangement of the constituent minerals are altered
- the act, rate, or manner of flowinga fast flow
- a continuous stream or discharge
- continuous progression
- the advancing of the tide
- a stream of molten or solidified lava
- the amount of liquid that flows in a given time
- an informal word for menstruation
- a marsh or swamp
- an inlet or basin of the sea
- (capital when part of a name)Scapa Flow
- flow of spirits natural happiness
mid-15c., “action of flowing,” from flow (v.). Meaning “amount that flows” is from 1807. Flow chart attested from 1920.
Old English flowan “to flow, stream, issue; become liquid, melt; abound, overflow” (class VII strong verb; past tense fleow, past participle flowen), from Proto-Germanic *flo- (cf. Middle Dutch vloyen, Dutch vloeien “to flow,” Old Norse floa “to deluge,” Old High German flouwen “to rinse, wash”), probably from PIE *pleu- “flow, float” (see pluvial). The weak form predominated from 14c., but strong past participle flown is occasionally attested through 18c. Related: Flowed; flowing.
- To move or run smoothly with unbroken continuity.
- To circulate, as the blood in the body.
- To menstruate.
- The smooth motion characteristic of fluids.
- The volume of fluid or gas passing a given point per unit of time.
- Menstrual discharge.
see ebb and flow; go with the flow.