fur·​long | \ ˈfər-ˌlȯŋ \

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

Vicente’s Shadow finished a neck ahead of third-place Boundary Bay, a shipper from Hastings in Vancouver, B.C., who led by a half-length with one furlong to go. Seattle Times Staff, The Seattle Times, "Whatwasithinking wins by a nose at Emerald Downs," 27 May 2018 Winner: Navy Commander ($7.60) Parx: $100,000 Turf Amazon Stakes, 3 and up, 5 furlongs on turf. John Cherwa, latimes.com, "Racing! Los Alamitos dealing with small fields," 9 July 2018 The 3-2 betting choice, trained by Steve Asmussen, finished the 7 furlongs on a fast course in 1:21.84. Paul Rolfes, The Courier-Journal, "Mia Mischief scores Eight Belles win to open Kentucky Oaks Day stakes," 4 May 2018 Ridden by Feargal Lynch for trainer Hugh McMahon, Chief of Staff ($7.20) ran seven furlongs in 1:22.57 over a fast main track in the $45,000 second-level optional claiming allowance for 3-year-olds and up. baltimoresun.com, "Digest (July 1): Capitals sign center Dowd to one-year contract; Beagle off to Canucks," 3 July 2018 The big chestnut colt put in his final pre-Belmont workout on Monday morning at Churchill Downs, covering five furlongs in 1:01.40. Jason Frakes, The Courier-Journal, "Justify runs last breeze before Belmont. Status: He's looking 'smooth'," 4 June 2018 The stakes race is the $100,000 Sensational Star Stakes for Cal-breds 4 and up, running 6 ½ furlongs down the hillside course. John Cherwa, latimes.com, "Racing! Exciting San Felipe does little to clarify Kentucky Derby picture," 11 Mar. 2018 It is joined by the Nellie Mae Cox at 1 mile and M. Tyson Gilpin at 5½ furlongs, each for fillies and mares, and the 5½-furlong White Oak Farm. baltimoresun.com, "Digest (June 22): Team Maryland roster announced for Big 26 Classic," 22 June 2018 In 2015, American Pharoah was able to settle in on a relaxed lead, running moderate fractions for the first half-mile (48.83 seconds) and 6 furlongs (1:13.41) that left him plenty in reserve for Belmont’s long stretch run. Dan Wolken, USA TODAY, "Justify gets the rail for Belmont Stakes, Bob Baffert's least favorite spot," 5 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

9 Feb 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 \

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

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