ful·​crum | \ ˈfu̇l-krəm How to pronounce fulcrum (audio) , ˈfəl- How to pronounce fulcrum (audio) \
plural fulcrums or fulcra\ ˈfu̇l-​krə How to pronounce fulcrum (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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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 What has changed, as much as Adebayo himself, is the addition of veteran point guard Kyle Lowry, with Adebayo no longer having to serve as a primary fulcrum of the offense from the high post. Ira Winderman, sun-sentinel.com, 12 Oct. 2021 With 14 goals and eight assists this season, defensive midfielder Damir Kreilach serves as RSL’s fulcrum, while forwards Anderson Julio and Rubio Rubín have each contributed eight goals. Portland Timbers And Thorns Fc, oregonlive, 29 Oct. 2021 The winner, besides tackling domestic issues, will play a key role as a fulcrum between China and the U.S. Literal strongman, former boxer Manny Pacquiao, filed his candidacy on Oct. 1. Eamon Barrett, Fortune, 7 Oct. 2021 Rooms were painted in bright colors and shelves crowded with knickknacks or the framed work of local artists, who thought of Taj Begum as a fulcrum of Kabul’s cultural life. Los Angeles Times, 24 Sep. 2021 In Germany, the economic and political fulcrum of the European Union, all these elements will be playing out in the coming weeks amid negotiations to assemble a new coalition. Ned Temko, The Christian Science Monitor, 6 Oct. 2021 For fans of psychological thrillers, the climatic reveal of this saga is not so surprising: the foundational fulcrum between functional and dysfunctional is rooted in the infancy of the project. Steve Tengler, Forbes, 11 May 2021 The new paintings, which will be on view at Hauser & Wirth's London gallery from October 12, still carry the psychological intrigue that has been the fulcrum of Condo's practice. CNN, 30 Sep. 2021 And on offense, it has been ingrained to act as a fulcrum. Ira Winderman, sun-sentinel.com, 19 Sep. 2021

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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The first known use of fulcrum was in 1659

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Last Updated

21 Nov 2021

Cite this Entry

“Fulcrum.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/fulcrum. Accessed 7 Dec. 2021.

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More Definitions for fulcrum



English Language Learners Definition of fulcrum

: 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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