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 Shedaresthedevil, overlooked by the betting public at 15-1 odds, stalked the front-running Gamine, took the lead with a furlong to go and won Friday’s $1.25 million, Grade 1 Kentucky Oaks by 1 ½ lengths at Churchill Downs. Jason Frakes, The Courier-Journal, "Louisville's Brad Cox wins second Kentucky Oaks with Shedaresthedevil in record time," 4 Sep. 2020 The Tom Amoss filly is the 9-5 morning-line favorite in the seven-furlong race with a $500,000 purse. Steve Bittenbender, The Courier-Journal, "Ahead of 2020 Kentucky Derby, Old Forester Bourbon Turf Classic features familiar names," 4 Sep. 2020 Post time for the seven-furlong race is set for 6:18 p.m. Jason Frakes, The Courier-Journal, "Honor A.P. ready for final Kentucky Derby prep in Saturday's Shared Belief at Del Mar," 31 July 2020 Fore Left was supposed to go in the seven-furlong Woody Stephens Stakes at Belmont, but with the Belmont Stakes field not that deep, Doug O’Neill, along with other trainers, is taking a shot. John Cherwa, Los Angeles Times, "Belmont Stakes lacks star power as horse racing embarks on a jumbled Triple Crown," 19 June 2020 With a furlong being one-eighth-of-a mile, that puts the 2020 Belmont at 1.125 miles, the event’s shortest distance since 1894. Mark Inabinett | Minabinett@al.com, al, "Belmont Stakes 2020: Morning line favors Tiz the Law," 17 June 2020 The son of Honor Code made a run at the lead in the final furlong before Authentic pulled away. Jason Frakes, The Courier-Journal, "Odds, post positions and how to watch Saturday's Santa Anita Derby," 5 June 2020 In this five-furlong sprint on the turf, Hidden Facts lost by less than two lengths against a stronger field last outing; 2. Dana Gauruder, Detroit Free Press, "Horse racing lineup on NBC Sports Network: Handicapping for Gulfstream, Tampa Bay Downs, Oaklawn Park," 18 Apr. 2020 On Wednesday, her time of 35.20 seconds was the fastest of 35 horses going three furlongs. John Cherwa, Los Angeles Times, "Santa Anita suffers its 11th horse death since Dec. 26," 16 Apr. 2020

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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Time Traveler for furlong

Time Traveler

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

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Statistics for furlong

Last Updated

22 Oct 2020

Cite this Entry

“Furlong.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/furlong. Accessed 24 Oct. 2020.

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More Definitions for furlong


How to pronounce furlong (audio)

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

Nglish: Translation of furlong for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of furlong for Arabic Speakers

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about furlong

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