Definition of furlong in English:



  • An eighth of a mile, 220 yards.

    • ‘A wide and galloping track, one of the key moments comes about two furlongs from the winning post where there is a dip in the course.’
    • ‘Silca's Gift takes up the running in the final two furlongs and draws away to score a comfortable victory by three lengths.’
    • ‘For the first part of the race Attraction was boxed in but when a gap opened up on the rails with two furlongs to go the race was over.’
    • ‘Dettori had his mount travelling well all through the race and moved up with a furlong and a half to go to challenge Two Miles West.’
    • ‘Bandari's fast pace caught up with him in the closing four furlongs as first Millenary and then Warrsan outpaced him.’
    • ‘Enclosed strips and furlongs are fields that probably originate from the enclosure of medieval strip fields.’
    • ‘In a wide open race, Wannabe Around broke from the start and opened up a five-length lead with three furlongs to go.’
    • ‘Spencer then moved to the front and led inside the final furlong to record a famous victory for trainer Henry Candy.’
    • ‘Tomorrow's three miles and three furlongs contest should bring out the best in him and a return to winning form is expected.’
    • ‘He has only ever won over three miles and a furlong or below but Henderson does not think the trip will be a problem for his horse.’
    • ‘High Chaparral made the lead with an eighth of a mile to go and edged left in the final furlong.’
    • ‘I have never, ever heard of furlongs, and my question is ‘1 mile = 8 furlongs, how many cubic furlongs in a cubic mile?’’
    • ‘He won over a mile and two furlongs at Leopardstown back in May, coasting home by half a dozen lengths.’
    • ‘The Prix du Moulin winner, ridden by Christophe Lemaire, took over the lead in the final couple of furlongs.’
    • ‘A dour stayer, very much at home over this distance of three miles and three furlongs, he is taken to clinch the spoils.’
    • ‘Run over 12 furlongs it is the longest race on the card and is worth 1 million.’
    • ‘This is a promising young horse, who is likely to relish every yard of the two miles and six furlongs.’
    • ‘Tomorrow he steps up to a marathon three miles and three furlongs and, in a very modest event, can surely play a strong role.’
    • ‘Trained by Mark Tompkins and ridden by Philip Robinson, Babodana made his move about three furlongs out.’
    • ‘Eight furlongs into the ten furlong race, Gatwick looked to have next to no chance.’
    • ‘Long before the Norman Conquest in 1066, Saxon farmers in England were measuring distance in rods and furlongs and areas in acres.’
    • ‘Cyril Hart has pointed out the earliest known written record of the furlong as a unit of length, in the description of the boundary of Bury St. Edmunds in a charter dated 945.’
    • ‘The John Gosden-trained colt took up the lead coming into the home straight but faded in the final furlong.’
    • ‘The roar of the crowd must have been music to the ears of McCoy, who never looked back and led for all two miles and five furlongs of the race.’


Old English furlang, from furh ‘furrow’ + lang ‘long’. The word originally denoted the length of a furrow in a common field (formally regarded as a square of ten acres). It was also used as the equivalent of the Roman stadium, one eighth of a Roman mile, whence the current sense. Compare with stadium.