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From Old French ensu- [1], stem of some conjugated forms of ensivre (follow close upon, come afterward) (French ensuivre), from Latin īnsequere, from īnsequi (to pursue, follow, follow after; come next), from in- (upon) (see in-) + sequi (follow) (see sequel).


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ensue (third-person singular simple present ensues, present participle ensuing, simple past and past participle ensued)

  1. (obsolete, transitive) To follow (a leader, inclination etc.). [15th-17th c.]
    • 1596, Edmund Spenser, The Faerie Queene, IV.ii:
      to ripenesse of mans state they grew: / Then shewing forth signes of their fathers blood, / They loued armes, and knighthood did ensew, / Seeking aduentures [...].
    • (Can we date this quote by Golding and provide title, author’s full name, and other details?)
      To ensue his example in doing the like mischief.
  2. (obsolete, transitive) To follow (in time), to be subsequent to. [15th-17th c.]
    • 1603, John Florio, translating Michel de Montaigne, Essays, III.11:
      Oh how many changes are like to ensue this reformation!
  3. (intransitive) To occur afterwards, as a result or effect. [from 16th c.]
    Give three freshmen six bottles of wine, and hilarity will ensue.


Related terms[edit]



  1. ^ ensue” in Douglas Harper, Online Etymology Dictionary, 2001–2020.