unit of length

A furlong is a unit for measuring distance. It is part of the imperial and US customary systems. It is equal to 660 feet or 201.168 metres. There are eight furlongs in a mile.

The 5-furlong (1,006 m) post on Epsom Downs
General information
Unit systemimperial/US customary units
Unit oflength
1 furlong in ...... is equal to ...
   imperial/US units   220 yd
   metric (SI) units   201.1680 m

History change

The unit was first used in the ninth century at the latest. The word "furlong" comes from Old English words furh ("furrow") and lang ("long"). Originally it was the length of the furrow in one acre of a ploughed field. An acre is an area that is one furlong long and one chain wide. For this reason, the furlong was once also called an acre's length. Around the year 1300, England standardized the furlong as 40 rods or 660 feet.

The length of the furlong was standardized between South Africa, Australia, United Kingdom, Canada , New Zealand and the United States in the International Pound and Yard Agreement.

The furlong was abolished for official use in the UK in 1985. It is still occasionally seen on road signs in Myanmar.

Distances for horse racing in the UK, Ireland, and Canada are still given in miles and furlongs. The unit is not used otherwise. It is considered to be an archaic unit.

The proverb one furlong per fortnight means to express something in as obscure and little-used units as possible. (A fortnight is two weeks, or fourteen days). The proverb itself means speed, and is the same as 0.000166309524 m/s or 0.17 mm/s.

Length change

Feet Yard Chain Furlong Mile Metres
660 220 10 1 18 201.168