Would you like to introduce or announce that you are about to give a list of something, or are you trying to indicate that one thing comes after the next? ‘Followed by’ is a common term that you can use to point this out, though it often doesn’t translate well to other languages. This post looks at the meaning and origin of this term.
The expression ‘followed by’ means that something comes after something else.
The term is figurative, and ‘followed by’ can simply be used to mean afterwards as a means of indicating priority, standing or sometimes time.
‘Followed by’ also has been given a second, alternative meaning in the days of the modern internet.
With the introduction of social media websites like TikTok and Facebook, the concept of social media followers means that someone can be virtually ‘followed by’ someone else on most social media websites.
The implication of followed by in the social media age is often likely the second meaning more than it is the first.
If someone is being ‘followed by’ someone else on social media, the one person is said to be the other person’s social media follower: or just follower for short.
When the term is used in the plural sense, then the phrase ‘follower by’ still applies.
A person can have one social media ‘follower’ or several social media ‘followers’.
While ‘followed by’ can also refer to the more literal meaning of one person being physically followed by another, this is less likely unless the context of what is being said specifies this.
To have many social media followers is a desirable thing, but to be followed by strangers in public is not.
“Guess we’re going to have to tell the kids the truth: we met way before the days of social media, and when you liked someone you had to go and follow them in person.”
“Billie Joe from Green Day just followed my social media accounts. Who is going to be next, the lead singer behind Nickelback?”
“If you are being followed by someone for real, the best advice I ‘ve got for you is to make your way right to the police station.”
“If you want to make sure that your accounts are followed by the right people, then you should actually post content that people like to see.”
The origin of the term ‘followed by’ can be traced back to the first uses of the term ‘follow’ which is said to derive from Old English around the 11th century.
After the 11th century adoption of the word ‘follow’, the phrase ‘followed by’ is likely to have sprung from this use as a literal term. At the same time, the phrase might have developed its figurative, list-based meaning where one item or issue is after another.
The later evolution of the word ‘follow’ and the term ‘followed by’ to incorporate social media terms is likely to have started in the 2010s, with the heightened popularity of websites like Facebook that allow others to ‘follow’ accounts they like.
Phrases Similar to Followed By
Phrases Opposite to Followed By
What is the Correct Saying?
Ways People May Say Followed By Incorrectly
There are several ways in which the phrase ‘followed by’ can be interpreted wrong by its readers, or understood in the wrong way when it gets used.
Someone can be physically ‘followed by’ a person, but someone can also be ‘followed by’ someone else on social media.
Acceptable Ways to Phrase Followed By
The most common way in which the phrase ‘followed by’ can be used is in the modern context, whereby someone is ‘followed by’ another person, page or account on social media platforms.
The literal use of ‘followed by’ is also valid, and someone can also use ‘followed by’ to refer to a list of objects, items or concepts they have given.