Military. a vacation or leave of absence granted to an enlisted person.
a usually temporary layoff from work: Many plant workers have been forced to go on furlough.
a temporary leave of absence authorized for a prisoner from a penitentiary.
verb (used with object)
to grant a furlough to.
to lay (an employee or worker) off from work, usually temporarily.

1615–25; variant of earlier furlogh, furloff < Dutch verlof leave, permission; current pronunciation by association with dough, etc.

prefurlough, noun
Dictionary.com Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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World English Dictionary
furlough (ˈfɜːləʊ)
1.  leave of absence from military duty
2.  (US) a temporary laying-off of employees, usually because there is insufficient work to occupy them
3.  to grant a furlough to
4.  (US) to lay off (staff) temporarily
[C17: from Dutch verlof, from ver-for- + lof leave, permission; related to Swedish förlof]

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition
2009 © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
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Word Origin & History

1620s, from Du. verlof, lit. "permission," from M.Du. ver- "completely, for" + laf, lof "permission," which is related to the second element in believe and to leave (n.). The -gh spelling developed by 1770s and represents an "f" that was once
pronounced at the end of the word but disappeared fairly soon in English. The verb is from 1783. Related: Furloughed; furloughing.
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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Example sentences
Before hiring newcomers, employers typically provide more hours to employees
  they moved to part-time work or furloughed.
With the economy recovering as well, air travel is picking up and airlines are
  reinstating flights and furloughed workers.
Employees under this status do not report for work and their pay is reduced for
  the amount of time they are furloughed.
Once those activities are completed, they too will be immediately furloughed.
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