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

Definition of furlong

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

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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

This is a bottom level maiden $20,000 claimer at six furlongs. Los Angeles Times, "Racing! Looking at next year’s Kentucky Derby preps," 24 Aug. 2019 The Grade 3 Bashford Manor and Debutante – both $125,000 dirt races for 2-year-olds at 6 furlongs – highlight Saturday’s 12-race card at Churchill Downs. Jason Frakes, The Courier-Journal, "Two-year-olds highlight Saturday's closing day of Churchill Downs' Spring Meet," 28 June 2019 The Grade 2 $200,000 Great Lady M Stakes for fillies and mares at 6½ furlongs on July 6, and the Grade 3 $150,000 Los Alamitos Derby, for 3-year-olds at 1⅛ miles, on July 13. John Cherwa, latimes.com, "Opening of Los Alamitos thoroughbred meeting brings unwanted scrutiny," 28 June 2019 Big Races review Saratoga (3): Grade 3 $150,000 Sanford Stakes, 2-year-olds, 6 furlongs. John Cherwa, latimes.com, "Racing! Game Winner is back in winning form," 14 July 2019 This will be his first start at 10 furlongs for trainer Rodolfe Brisset. San Diego Union-Tribune, "Pacific Classic at Del Mar features wide-open field," 13 Aug. 2019 Khadijah Mellah, an amateur rider from Peckham, in south London, won the five-and-a-half furlong all-female charity race at Glorious Goodwood. Fox News, "Hijab-wearing jockey becomes first female British Muslim to win a competitive race in UK," 1 Aug. 2019 Creator is the only Belmont winner since Victory Gallop in 1998 outside the top four with two furlongs to go. Mark Inabinett | Minabinett@al.com, al.com, "Rewinding the Belmont Stakes 2019: Sir Winston wins," 8 June 2019 Then came the final furlong of the fastest Belmont since the advent of modern timing. Beth Harris, Houston Chronicle, "Justify ready for run at Triple Crown history in Belmont," 9 June 2018

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.

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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

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Statistics for furlong

Last Updated

21 Sep 2019

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Time Traveler for furlong

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

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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)

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More from Merriam-Webster on furlong

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with furlong

Spanish Central: Translation of furlong

Nglish: Translation of furlong for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of furlong for Arabic Speakers

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about furlong

Comments on furlong

What made you want to look up furlong? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


formidable, illustrious, or eminent

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