fur·​long | \ ˈfər-ˌlȯŋ How to pronounce furlong (audio) \

Definition of furlong

: a unit of distance equal to 220 yards (about 201 meters)

Keep scrolling for more

Furlong Has Old English Roots

Furlong is an English original and can be traced back to Old English "furlang," a combination of the noun "furh" ("furrow") and the adjective "lang" ("long"). Though now standardized as a length of 220 yards (or 1/8th of a mile), the furlong was originally defined less precisely as the length of a furrow in a cultivated field. This length was equal to the long side of an acre-an area originally defined as the amount of arable land that could be plowed by a yoke of oxen in a day, but later standardized as an area measuring 220 yards (one furlong) by 22 yards, and now defined as any area measuring 4,840 square yards. In contemporary usage, "furlong" is often encountered in references to horse racing.

Examples of furlong in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web Ogden edges Cameron by a head in the second race on the card, a six furlong sprint on the main track. Los Angeles Times, 2 Sep. 2021 One race earlier, Pappacap, who was flown in from Florida for the race, easily won the six-furlong Best Pal Stakes for 2-year-olds by 4¾ lengths over Finneus. Bill Center, San Diego Union-Tribune, 7 Aug. 2021 Superstition wins As Prat rallied Superstition ($6) in the stretch of the Daisycutter, Querelle also passed fading Bulletproof One in the final strides to finish second in the five-furlong turf sprint for older fillies and mares. Bill Center, San Diego Union-Tribune, 25 July 2021 Again, the favorite was beaten and jockey Hernandez guided the winner home first in the seven-furlong race. John Cherwa, Los Angeles Times, 30 May 2021 Less speed today and a half-furlong less to deal with. Star Tribune, 13 July 2021 Has posted a bullet work since the claim and will appreciate the additional furlong. Star Tribune, 29 June 2021 Common Cause, Empire's Fire. ROCK N RYE dueled for the lead outside of CREATIVE PEAK to the stretch, cleared with a furlong to go and drew away. John Cherwa, Los Angeles Times, 31 May 2021 Agamemnon, a 4-year-old gelding, suffered a catastrophic injury in Monday’s third race, a six-furlong allowance turf race for Cal-breds. John Cherwa, Los Angeles Times, 31 May 2021

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'furlong.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

See More

First Known Use of furlong

14th century, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for furlong

Middle English, from Old English furlang, from furh furrow + lang long

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More About furlong

Time Traveler for furlong

Time Traveler

The first known use of furlong was in the 14th century

See more words from the same century

Listen to Our Podcast About furlong

Dictionary Entries Near furlong




See More Nearby Entries 

Statistics for furlong

Last Updated

11 Oct 2021

Cite this Entry

“Furlong.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/furlong. Accessed 18 Oct. 2021.

Style: MLA
MLACheck Mark Icon ChicagoCheck Mark Icon APACheck Mark Icon Merriam-WebsterCheck Mark Icon

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for furlong



English Language Learners Definition of furlong

: a unit of distance equal to 220 yards (about 201.2 meters) or ¹/₈ of a mile


fur·​long | \ ˈfər-ˌlȯŋ How to pronounce furlong (audio) \

Kids Definition of furlong

: a unit of length equal to 220 yards (about 201 meters)

More from Merriam-Webster on furlong

Nglish: Translation of furlong for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of furlong for Arabic Speakers

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about furlong


Test Your Vocabulary

Dog Words Quiz

  • shiba puppy more or less demanding cuddles
  • Which of the following animals has a dog in its etymology?
How Strong Is Your Vocabulary?

Test your vocabulary with our 10-question quiz!

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!