The Meaning of Follow Suit: What It Is and How To Use It

Do you know the definition of follow suit? This article will provide you with all of the information you need on the term follow suit, including its definition, etymology, usage, example sentences, and more!

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What does the term follow suit mean?

According to Dictionary and Cambridge English Dictionary, the idiom follow suit means to do the same thing as someone or something else, or to imitate someone. While this term was originally used in the game whist with regard to playing cards, nowadays the term is most often used figuratively.  Try using this word of the day or other new words in a sentence today!

There are many different languages that also use terms that mean follow suit. You may notice that many of these words look similar to other translations, as well as to the word follow itself. This is likely because these words share a common origin or ancestral language like Latin or Greek. Cognates, which are words and phrases that look, sound, and mean something similar across languages are often formed this way. This list of translations is provided by Word Sense

  • Old Saxon: folgoian‎, folgon‎
  • Ido: sequar‎
  • Portuguese: seguir‎
  • Romanian: urma‎, urmări‎
  • Norwegian: følge‎
  • Finnish: seurata‎
  • Georgian: მიყოლა‎, გაყოლა‎
  • Luxembourgish: follegen‎
  • North Frisian: (Mooring dialect) fülie‎
  • Hiligaynon: abat‎
  • Danish: følge‎
  • Quechua: qatiy‎, gatii‎
  • Burmese: လိုက်‎
  • Czech: sledovat‎
  • Telugu: వెంబడించు‎ (veMbaDiMchu)
  • Latgalian: saksteit‎
  • Galician: seguir‎
  • Old English: folgian‎, fylgan‎
  • Spanish: seguir‎
  • Dutch: volgen‎
  • Mandarin: 隨, 随‎ (suí); 跟隨, 跟随‎ (gēnsuí)
  • Alemannic German: folge‎
  • Khmer: តាម‎ (taam)
  • Ukrainian: слідувати‎
  • Hebrew: עקב‎
  • Greek: ακολουθώ‎
  • Persian: دنبال کردن‎ (donbâl kardan), پالیدن‎ (pâlidan)
  • Walloon: shuve‎
  • Mongolian: дагах мѳрдѳх‎ (dagah mördöh)
  • German: folgen‎
  • West Frisian: folgje‎
  • Swedish: följa‎
  • Catalan: seguir‎
  • Korean: 따르다‎ (ttareuda)
  • Norman: siéthe‎
  • Latvian: sekot‎
  • Scots: follae‎
  • Italian: seguire‎
  • Hungarian: követ‎
  • Armenian: հետևել‎
  • Hindi: पीछा करना‎ (pīćhā karnā)
  • Esperanto: sekvi‎
  • Slovene: slediti‎
  • French: suivre‎
  • Albanian: ndjek‎
  • Cantonese: 跟‎ (gan1), 跟埋‎ (gan1 maai4)
  • Urdu: پیچھا کرنا‎ (pīćhā karnā)
  • Egyptian Arabic: يمشي ورا‎ (yemši wara)
  • Bulgarian: следвам‎
  • Latin: sequi‎
  • Scottish Gaelic: lean‎
  • Swahili: fuata‎
  • Turkish: izlemek‎, takip etmek‎
  • Lithuanian: sekti‎
  • Estonian: jälitama‎
  • Serbo-Croatian: slijéditi‎, prȁtiti‎
  • Japanese: 付いて行く‎ (ついていく, tsuite iku), 従う‎ (shitagau)
  • Thai: ทยอย‎ (táyoi), ตาม‎ (dtaam)
  • Arabic: تَبِعَ‎
  • Novial: seku‎
  • Russian: сле́довать‎, следи́ть‎

What is the origin of the term follow suit?

According to Grammarist and Phrases, the idiom follow suit has been used since the early 1800s, where it was first used literally in card camed. Many card games are played by way or a leading suit – hearts, diamonds, spades, and clubs. The term follow suit originally meant to play a card that matched the suit of the card that was played by the round leader. This term turned figurative around the early 19th century.  

What are synonyms and antonyms for the term follow suit?

There are many different words and phrases that one can use in place of the phrase follow suit. These are called synonyms, which are words and phrases that mean the same thing as another word or phrase. Synonyms are a useful English grammatical device to know if you are trying to avoid repeating yourself or if you are working on growing your vocabulary. This list of synonyms for the term follow suit is provided by Thesaurus.

  • play a part
  • echo
  • do like
  • parallel
  • emulate
  • affect
  • imitate
  • reflect
  • ditto
  • pretend
  • caricature
  • look like
  • clone
  • pattern after
  • mirror
  • Xerox
  • act like
  • send up
  • parody
  • repeat
  • personate
  • take off
  • assume
  • burlesque
  • match
  • reproduce
  • copy
  • resemble
  • model after
  • counterfeit
  • duplicate
  • follow
  • mimic
  • spoof
  • mock
  • follow in the footsteps of
  • ape
  • put on
  • replicate
  • sham
  • follow the example of
  • falsify
  • impersonate
  • be like
  • jump on the bandwagon
  • do likewise
  • borrow
  • travesty
  • simulate
  • reduplicate
  • carbon
  • forge
  • feign
  • mime

There are also numerous words and phrases that mean the opposite of the term follow suit. These are called antonyms, which are also useful to know if you are looking to expand your knowledge of the English language. This list of antonyms for the term follow suit is also provided by Thesaurus.

  • oppose
  • turn
  • match up
  • differ
  • be contrary to
  • hold a candle to
  • diverge
  • disagree
  • separate
  • be dissimilar
  • alter
  • stand out
  • swerve
  • depart
  • hang
  • turn aside
  • be unlike
  • deviate
  • lack resemblance
  • digress
  • contrast
  • stack up against
  • be diverse
  • stray
  • be a foil to
  • diversify
  • dissent
  • be off the beaten path
  • set off
  • disapprove
  • mismatch
  • wander
  • jar with
  • contradict
  • show contrast
  • conflict
  • qualify
  • modify
  • not look like
  • bracket
  • bear no resemblance
  • conflict with
  • reverse
  • argue
  • be distinguished from
  • vary
  • run counter to
  • stand apart
  • differentiate
  • weigh
  • distinguish
  • take exception
  • not conform
  • deviate from
  • depart from
  • sing a different tune
  • set in opposition
  • collate
  • divaricate from
  • clash with
  • balance
  • be variable

How can the phrase follow suit be used in a sentence?

The term follow suit can be used to mean to imitate in a variety of different contexts. In this first example, a boss is frustrated with a group of workers for leaving early the day prior. He questions them about their actions. 

Boss: Was there no work to be done? Did you all think this was just some holiday?

Worker 1: Sir, since the 4th of July is on Monday nothing was really going on. One person left, and then the rest of us just followed suit. 

Overall, these days most people use the term follow suit meaning to imitate or follow figuratively, though it was originally used with reference to card games in which people had to follow the suit of the leading card. Now, the expression has a more general meaning, referring to following or imitating something or someone.

Sources:

  1. https://www.wordsense.eu/follow_suit/
  2. https://www.thesaurus.com/browse/follow%20suit
  3. https://www.thesaurus.com/browse/differ
  4. https://grammarist.com/idiom/follow-suit/#:~:text=Originally%2C%20the%20term%20to%20follow,a%20very%20popular%20card%20game. https://www.phrases.org.uk/bulletin_board/10/messages/257.html 
  5. https://www.dictionary.com/browse/follow–suit#:~:text=Imitate%20or%20do%20as%20someone,suit%20as%20the%20one%20led.%20%5B
  6. https://dictionary.cambridge.org/us/dictionary/english/follow-suit