Definition for FLOW

FLOW, v.i. [Sax. flowan; D. vloeijen. If the last radical was originally a dental, this word coincides with the D. vlieten, G. fliessen, Sw. flyta, Dan. flyder, to flow. If g was the last radical, flow coincides with the L. fluo, contracted from flugo, for it forms fluxi, fluctum. In one case, the word would agree with the root of blow, L. flo; in the other, with the root of fly.]

  1. To move along an inclined plane, or on descending ground, by the operation of gravity, and with a continual change of place among the particles or parts, as a fluid. A solid body descends or moves in mass, as a ball or a wheel; but in the flowing of liquid substances, and others consisting of very fine particles, there is a constant change of the relative position of some parts of the substance, as is the case with a stream of water, of quicksilver, and of sand. Particles at the bottom and sides of the stream, being somewhat checked by friction, move slower than those in the middle and near the surface of the current. Rivers flow from springs and lakes; tears flow from the eyes.
  2. To melt; to become liquid. That the mountains might flow down at thy presence. Is. lxiv.
  3. To proceed; to issue. Evils flow from different sources. Wealth flows from industry and economy. All our blessings flow from divine bounty.
  4. To abound; to have in abundance. In that day the mountains shall drop down new wine, and the hills shall flow with milk. Joel iii.
  5. To be full; to be copious; as, flowing cups or goblets.
  6. To glide along smoothly, without harshness or asperity; as, a flowing period; flowing numbers.
  7. To be smooth, as composition or utterance. The orator has a flowing tongue. Virgil is sweet and flowing in his hexameters. Dryden.
  8. To hang loose and waving; as, a flowing mantle; flowing locks. The imperial purple flowing in his train. Federalist, Hamilton.
  9. To rise, as the tide; opposed to ebb. The tide flows twice in twenty-four hours.
  10. To move in the arteries and veins of the body; to circulate, as blood.
  11. To issue, as rays or beams of light. Light flows from the sun.
  12. To move in a stream, as air.

Return to page 78 of the letter “F”.