a. A leave of absence or vacation, especially one granted to a member of the armed forces.
b. A usually temporary layoff from work.
c. A temporary leave of absence granted to a prisoner under special circumstances, such as the need to attend the funeral of a family member, or for a special purpose, such as participation in a work program.
2. The papers or documents authorizing a leave: The soldiers had their furloughs in their breast pockets.
tr.v. fur·loughed, fur·lough·ing, fur·loughs
1. To grant a furlough to.
2. To terminate the employment of (a worker).
[Alteration of vorloffe, furlogh, from Dutch verlof, from Middle Dutch; see leubh- in the Appendix of Indo-European roots.]
The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition copyright ©2020 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
Indo-European & Semitic Roots Appendices
Thousands of entries in the dictionary include etymologies that trace their origins back to reconstructed proto-languages. You can obtain more information about these forms in our online appendices:
The Indo-European appendix covers nearly half of the Indo-European roots that have left their mark on English words. A more complete treatment of Indo-European roots and the English words derived from them is available in our Dictionary of Indo-European Roots.