ful·​crum | \ ˈfu̇l-krəm How to pronounce fulcrum (audio) , ˈfəl- How to pronounce fulcrum (audio) \
plural fulcrums or fulcra\ ˈfu̇l-​krə How to pronounce fulcra (audio) , ˈfəl-​ \

Definition of fulcrum

1a : prop specifically : the support about which a lever turns the camera moves on a fixed fulcrum, either horizontally (panning) or vertically (tilting) — Gerald Mast
b : one that supplies capability for action he is … the reader's eyes and ears and the fulcrum of his judgment— Bernard De Voto
2 : a part of an animal that serves as a hinge or support

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Did You Know?

Fulcrum, a word that means "bedpost" in Latin, derives from the verb "fulcire," which means "to prop." When the word first appeared in English in the middle of the 17th century, "fulcrum" referred to the point on which a lever or similar device (such as the oar of a boat) is supported. It did not take long for the word to develop a figurative sense, referring to something used as a spur or justification to support a certain action. In zoology, "fulcrum" can also refer to a part of an animal that serves as a hinge or support, such as the joint supporting a bird's wing.

Examples of fulcrum in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web The senators’ political logic: Market Skeptic Republicans are the fulcrum on which Trump’s fate, and that of the GOP, depends. Matthew Continetti, National Review, "What Do Republican Voters Want?," 16 Nov. 2019 After Hornung languished for his first two seasons, splitting time between halfback and quarterback, Lombardi turned him into the fulcrum of the offense, the point man for the famed Green Bay power sweep. The Si Staff, SI.com, "100 Figures Who Shaped the NFL’s First Century," 28 Aug. 2019 Not so with Love, who could be a playmaking fulcrum for an offense if needed, or a spacer, or an occasional post threat. Rob Mahoney, SI.com, "Top 100 NBA Players of 2020," 12 Sep. 2019 Marcos is at the fulcrum of Greenfield’s film, which screens at TIFF on Sept. 9, 11 and 12. Matt Scott, The Hollywood Reporter, "Hidden Gem: 'Kingmaker' Lifts Lid on Political Corruption in the Philippines," 8 Sep. 2019 Putting him as the fulcrum of the offense could be courting chaos. Ira Winderman, sun-sentinel.com, "ASK IRA: Is Heat roster not as locked in as it appears?," 4 Sep. 2019 The Italian acted as the fulcrum in midfield and was constantly looking to provide the front two with opportunities to test the United defence. SI.com, "Manchester United 1-0 Inter: Report, Ratings & Reaction as Mason Greenwood Stars," 20 July 2019 The letters selected by Mr. Kirsch offer persuasive testimony that the contradictions Trilling discovered within himself acted as a fulcrum for his achievement, with a result that was anything but sterile. Benjamin Balint, WSJ, "‘Life in Culture’ Review: Between Revolution and Respectability," 20 Sep. 2018 Huawei is a fulcrum in Trump's wider trade war with China. Jill Disis And Brian Fung, CNN, "US broadens Huawei blacklist but extends a limited reprieve for companies to do business with China tech giant," 19 Aug. 2019

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'fulcrum.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of fulcrum

1659, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

History and Etymology for fulcrum

Late Latin, from Latin, bedpost, from fulcire to prop — more at balk entry 2

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Time Traveler for fulcrum

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The first known use of fulcrum was in 1659

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Last Updated

21 Nov 2019

Cite this Entry

“Fulcrum.” The Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster Inc., https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/fulcra. Accessed 22 November 2019.

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More Definitions for fulcrum


How to pronounce fulcrum (audio) How to pronounce fulcrum (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of fulcrum

technical : the support on which a lever moves when it is used to lift something


ful·​crum | \ ˈfu̇l-krəm How to pronounce fulcrum (audio) , ˈfəl-\
plural fulcrums or fulcra\ -​krə \

Kids Definition of fulcrum

: the support on which a lever turns in lifting something

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More from Merriam-Webster on fulcrum

Spanish Central: Translation of fulcrum

Nglish: Translation of fulcrum for Spanish Speakers

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about fulcrum

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