Etymology
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following (n.)

late 14c., "action of following, an act of following," verbal noun from follow (v.). Meaning "a body of disciples or retainers" is from mid-15c.; Old English used folgoð in this sense.

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Definitions of following
1
following (adj.)
in the desired direction;
a following wind
following (adj.)
about to be mentioned or specified;
the following items
Synonyms: undermentioned
following (adj.)
immediately following in time or order;
the following day
Synonyms: next
following (adj.)
going or proceeding or coming after in the same direction;
the crowd of following cars made the occasion seem like a parade
tried to outrun the following footsteps
2
following (n.)
a group of followers or enthusiasts;
Synonyms: followers
following (n.)
the act of pursuing in an effort to overtake or capture;
Synonyms: pursuit / chase / pursual
From wordnet.princeton.edu