Did You Know?
Back in ancient Rome, tightrope walking was a popular spectacle at public gatherings. The Latin word for "tightrope walker" is "funambulus," from the Latin funis, meaning "rope," plus ambulare, meaning "to walk." It doesn't take any funambulism on our part to see how the word for an impressive act of physical skill and agility came to mean an impressive act of mental skill or agility. That extended sense of the word has been around since at least 1886, when British academic and writer Augustus Jessopp described the act of diagramming sentences as "horrible lessons of ghastly grammar and dreary funambulism."
Origin of funambulism
Latin funambulus ropewalker, from funis rope + ambulare to walk
First Known Use: 1824
Rhymes with funambulism
absenteeism, absolutism, abstractionism, adventurism, aestheticism, Afrocentrism, agnosticism, alcoholism, amateurism, anabaptism, anachronism, Anglicanism, animalism, antagonism, Arianism, astigmatism, athleticism, automatism, behaviorism, Big Brotherism, bilingualism, Bonapartism, cannibalism, capitalism, Cartesianism, Catholicism, charlatanism, collectivism, commercialism, communalism, Confucianism, conservatism, constructivism, consumerism, corporatism, creationism, determinism, do-nothingism, eclecticism, ecotourism, ecumenism, egocentrism, empiricism, epicurism, eroticism, essentialism, ethnocentrism, evangelism, exoticism, expansionism, expressionism, Fabianism, factionalism, fanaticism, favoritism, federalism, Fenianism, feuilletonism, Fourierism, fraternalism, Freudianism, functionalism, hermeticism, Hispanicism, historicism, hooliganism, illiberalism, illusionism, impressionism, infantilism, inflationism, initialism, insularism, irredentism, Jacobinism, Keynesianism, know-nothingism, lesbianism, liberalism, libertinism, literalism, Lutheranism, Lysenkoism, magic realism, malapropism, mercantilism, messianism, metabolism, metamorphism, militarism, minimalism, monasticism, monotheism, mutualism, naturalism, Naziritism, negativism, neologism, neo-Nazism, neorealism, nominalism, nonconformism, objectivism, obscurantism, obstructionism, opportunism, pacificism, parallelism, pastoralism, paternalism, patriotism, Peeping Tomism, perfectionism, photo-realism, plebeianism, polytheism, positivism, postmodernism, primitivism, progressivism, protectionism, Protestantism, provincialism, puritanism, radicalism, rationalism, recidivism, reductionism, regionalism, relativism, revisionism, revivalism, ritualism, romanticism, salvationism, sansculottism, scholasticism, sectionalism, secularism, separatism, serialism, Slavophilism, somnambulism, Stakhanovism, structuralism, subjectivism, teetotalism, theocentrism, triumphalism, Uncle Tomism, ventriloquism, vigilantism, workaholism
Seen and Heard
What made you want to look up funambulism? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).