[fur-lawng, -long]
a unit of distance, equal to 220 yards (201 meters) or ⅛ mile (0.2 km). Abbreviation: fur.

before 900; Middle English; Old English furlang length of a furrow. See furrow, long1

Dictionary.com Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
Cite This Source Link To furlong
World English Dictionary
furlong (ˈfɜːˌlɒŋ)
a unit of length equal to 220 yards (201.168 metres)
[Old English furlang, from furhfurrow + langlong1]

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition
2009 © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009
Cite This Source
Word Origin & History

O.E. furlang "measure of distance" (roughly 220 yards), originally the length of a furrow in the common field of 10 acres, from furh "furrow" + lang "long." But the "acre" of the common field being variously measured, the furlong was fixed 9c. on the stadium, one-eighth of a Roman mile.
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
Cite This Source
Bible Dictionary

Furlong definition

a stadium, a Greek measure of distance equal to 606 feet and 9 inches (Luke 24:13; John 6:19; 11:18; Rev. 14:20; 21:16).

Easton's 1897 Bible Dictionary
Cite This Source
Encyclopedia Britannica


old English unit of length, based on the length of an average plowed furrow (hence "furrow-long," or furlong) in the English open- or common-field system. Each furrow ran the length of a 40 4-rod acre, or 660 modern feet. The standardization of such linear units as the yard, foot, and inch-begun by government enactment sometime between 1266 and 1303-recognized the traditional sizes of rods, furlongs, and acres as fixed and therefore simply redefined them in terms of the newly standardized units. Thus, the furlong, often measured as 625 northern (German) feet, became 660 standard English feet, and the mile, always 8 furlongs, became 5,280 feet. Today, the furlong is used almost exclusively in horse racing.

Learn more about furlong with a free trial on Britannica.com.

Encyclopedia Britannica, 2008. Encyclopedia Britannica Online.
Cite This Source
Example sentences
Out back, horses might be working out in their pool, or on a nine-furlong track.
Copyright © 2014 Dictionary.com, LLC. All rights reserved.
  • Please Login or Sign Up to use the Recent Searches feature