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

All around the venue, screens were playing scenes from classic Italian films, such as La Dolce Vita and 8½ by Fellini and The Leopard by Visconti, showing pasta as the fulcrum of many movies’ cult moments. Giacomo Minazzi, Vogue, "Pass the Pasta! Italian Vogue and Barilla Host a Spaghetti Disco," 24 Feb. 2019 By the 1770s, Sheffield became the national fulcrum of steel manufacturing. Jonathan Schifman, Popular Mechanics, "The Entire History of Steel," 9 July 2018 Then, take the second bobby pin and bend it at the fulcrum to make one long, straight piece. Kevin Dupzyk, Popular Mechanics, "How to Open a Locked Door Without the Key," 28 Nov. 2018 Your core is the fulcrum and your arms and legs are the levers. Jenny Mccoy, SELF, "Why Doing a Hollow Body Hold Like Blake Lively’s Trainer Is So Challenging—Plus, How to Work Up to It," 30 Oct. 2018 Sarah Rice/Getty Images As the Trump White House and Senate Republican leaders fight desperately to hold GOP senators in line to confirm Kavanaugh, Collins is once again the fulcrum on which the fate of the country rests. Dylan Scott, Vox, "Susan Collins, one of the most important swing votes on Kavanaugh’s nomination, explained," 29 Sep. 2018 What's more, LeBron voters might argue, the difference in Houston's win total this year can be explained by the emergence of Clint Capela as a dependable fulcrum on offense and defense and the arrival of Chris Paul as an elite sidekick. The Crossover Staff, SI.com, "The Crossover's 2018 NBA Awards: A Rookie of the Year Battle for the Ages," 11 Apr. 2018 Paul’s health now clearly stands as the fulcrum for this series. Ben Golliver, SI.com, "Rockets’ Upset Hopes Hang on Chris Paul’s Hamstring," 25 May 2018 Krutwig’s footwork, soft touch and deft passing ability have turned him into a fulcrum of Loyola-Chicago's offense. Michael Beller, SI.com, "Final Four Breakdown: Which Factors Will Decide Michigan vs. Loyola-Chicago?," 26 Mar. 2018

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

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Statistics for fulcrum

Last Updated

28 Feb 2019

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Time Traveler for fulcrum

The first known use of fulcrum was in 1659

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More Definitions for fulcrum



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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