fulcrum

noun ful·crum \ ˈfu̇l-krəm , ˈfəl- \
Updated on: 14 Nov 2017

Definition of fulcrum

plural fulcrums or fulcra play \ˈfu̇l-krə, ˈfəl-\
1 a : 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

fulcrum was our Word of the Day on 04/23/2007. Hear the podcast!

Recent Examples of fulcrum from the Web

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.

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.

Origin and Etymology of fulcrum

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


FULCRUM Defined for English Language Learners

fulcrum

noun

Definition of fulcrum for English Language Learners

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


FULCRUM Defined for Kids

fulcrum

noun ful·crum \ ˈfu̇l-krəm , ˈfəl- \

Definition of fulcrum for Students

plural fulcrums or fulcra \-krə\
: the support on which a lever turns in lifting something

Learn More about fulcrum


Seen and Heard

What made you want to look up fulcrum? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!

WORD OF THE DAY

to remove or wipe out

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Find the Cousins

  • a-large-tree-with-many-branches
  • Which pair shares a common word ancestor?
True or False

Test your knowledge - and maybe learn something along the way.

TAKE THE QUIZ
Word Winder's CrossWinder

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

TAKE THE QUIZ

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!