Cigar Lifestyle

How to Measure a Furlong

Here’s something to ponder when you’ve got nothing better to do. Chances are you know how big your property is in acres, square yards or feet, but do you know how big it is in furlongs? You’ve probably heard the term in the context of horseracing. And now that we’re in the midst of The Sport of Kings run for the Triple Crown, it’s useful to know the meaning and origin of this term.

Let’s start with distance: A Furlong is equal to one-eighth of a mile, or 220 yards, or 660 feet; take your pick. Taking it one step further, if a horserace is paced for five furlongs, the horses will run a distance of 1 kilometer.

As for the origin of the word Furlong, it dates back to the early Anglo-Saxon days and comes from two Old English words: furh (“furrow”), and lang (“long). In medieval times, people farmed on communal fields that were divided into long strips of land. Each strip was a furlong in length (220 yards) by a width of 22 yards. Therefore, a furlong was the length of the furrow in one acre of a plowed, open field. Today, most city blocks are one furlong long.

For the Romans, a furlong was regarded as the equivalent to a Roman stade, or stadium, which was 625 feet in length. There were 8 stade to a mile, or 1,000 “paces,” which is where the numerical term mille (for 1,000) comes from. A distance of three miles was called a league, or the distance the average man could walk in one hour. Since one pace was equal to 5 feet, the Roman mile was based on a distance of 5,000 feet. Pretty close, but no cigar.

Even after the Roman Empire’s demise, Medieval Europe continued to use the Roman system up until the turn of the 14th century. Due to complications in trade and taxation calculations, in 1300 England finally decreed a standardized list of measures. For distance and length, you now had the foot, the yard, the rod (or “pole”), which measured 5½ yards (or 16½ ft.), the furlong, at 40 rods, and because the mile had been standardized to 5,280 feet, it was now equal to 8 furlongs.

If you do the math: 40 rods/furlong x 16½ feet/rod = 660 ft. (or 1 furlong). Multiply 660 ft. by 8 and you get 5,280 ft. Voila!

Under the British “Weights and Measures Act of 1985,” the furlong, including other traditional units of measure, was eradicated in the UK. So, the only place you’ll still hear the term furlong used on a regular basis is in The Sport of Kings.

Gary Korb

Gary Korb

Executive Editor

Gary Korb has been writing and editing content for CigarAdvisor.com since its debut in 2008. An avid cigar smoker for over 30 years, during the past 12 years he has worked on the marketing side of the premium cigar business as a Sr. Copywriter, blogger, and cigar reviewer. A graduate of the Newhouse School of Public Communications at Syracuse University, prior to his career in the cigar business, Gary worked in the music and video industry as a marketer and a publicist.

Show all Gary Korb's Articles
10 under 10 Top toro cigars under 10 dollars Cigar Advisor Cover

2019 CA Report: 10 Top Toro Cigars Under $10

Looking for a great smoke, but have to draw the line at 10 bucks? Toro fans, look no further: this 10-Under-10 matches flavor to value with 10 top Toro cigars under $10 per stick…and will satisfy smokers of every stripe.

Read More

Boxes Full of Blues: The Best Cigar Boxes to Make Cigar Box Guitars

We Advisors love our cigars, and our Blues. Watch and listen as we sit with Shane Speal, King of the Cigar Box Guitar: he shows us his picks for the best cigar boxes to make cigar box guitars, and we tell him interesting facts about the cigars that came in those boxes before they started making that sweet, sweet music.
Read More
2018 top father's day cigar gifts

2018 CA Report: Top Father’s Day Cigar Gifts

Stumped on a Father`s Day gift? No problem: treat Dad to some Father’s Day love, cigar style! The Advisors have hand-selected 12 Father's Day cigar gifts that are guaranteed to please and won’t dent your wallet. See our curated gift picks and get your Dad what he really wants: a good cigar, and some honest relaxation!
Read More
manuel quesada quesada cigars interview

Master Blenders: Manuel Quesada of Quesada Cigars

Hear Manuel Quesada of Quesada Cigars talk with us about FDA cigar regulations, the truth about Lanceros, the current state of affairs with Cuba, and more.
Read More