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 Such a foolish and demeaning term for the fulcrum of this country. Spencer Mcfadden Hoge And Cynthia Mcfadden, Town & Country, "This Family Road Trip Might Be the Greatest Driving Lesson Ever," 25 Oct. 2020 Prior to the emergence of Adebayo, Olynyk was asked to serve in Adebayo’s current role, as a facilitator and fulcrum on offense. Ira Winderman, sun-sentinel.com, "Kelly Olynyk has his NBA Finals moment, but still looking for his Heat identity," 3 Oct. 2020 In the wake of so much dysfunction, the Lakers — with the support of their owner, Jeanie Buss — were mortgaging their future to immediately pursue a title with James as their fulcrum. Scott Cacciola, New York Times, "The Lakers’ Winding Path Ends With a Championship," 11 Oct. 2020 The film was a fulcrum of her method, inviting multiple perspectives into one conversation, thereby arriving at a deeper truth. Ismail Muhammad, New York Times, "A Filmmaker Who Sees Prison Life With Love and Complexity," 6 Oct. 2020 For more than two centuries while the national political pendulum has swung back and forth between conservative and liberal, the fulcrum, or center of balance, between the two parties has shifted smoothly with the prevailing opinions. Star Tribune, "Readers Write: The election, the pandemic, climate change, Minneapolis housing, University of Minnesota sports," 2 Oct. 2020 Carpenter said the coming battle could move the court to the right, shift its fulcrum, with Justice Brett Kavanaugh or Justice Neil Gorsuch replacing Chief Justice John Roberts as the court’s new swing vote. Lauren Mcgaughy, Dallas News, "‘Earth shattering.’ Texans react to Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s death," 19 Sep. 2020 Regardless, Adebayo will have a far more expansive role as both the fulcrum of Miami’s offense, as well as the most likely 1-on-1 defender for Davis. Eric Walden, The Salt Lake Tribune, "The Lakers-Heat NBA Finals is a classic Grit vs. Glamour matchup. Who will prevail?," 29 Sep. 2020 Teammate Jimmy Butler said there is nothing to get over, any more than any other teammate, even with Adebayo having served as the team’s fulcrum for success this postseason. Ira Winderman, sun-sentinel.com, "Heat teammates block shot Bam Adebayo takes at himself as East finals lead vs. Celtics cut to 3-2," 26 Sep. 2020

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

20 Nov 2020

Cite this Entry

“Fulcrum.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/fulcrum. Accessed 24 Nov. 2020.

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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

More from Merriam-Webster on fulcrum

Nglish: Translation of fulcrum for Spanish Speakers

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about fulcrum

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