ful·crum | \ˈfu̇l-krəm, ˈfəl- \
plural fulcrums or fulcra\ˈfu̇l-krə, 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

Keep scrolling for more

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

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 Players who get dumped along with second-round picks typically aren’t the fulcrums upon which blockbuster trades swing. David Murphy, Philly.com, "Sixers' Wilson Chandler trade is where 'The Process' meets 'The Reality' | David Murphy," 4 July 2018 Goal-scoring savant David Villa remains the fulcrum of this squad. Jim Reineking, USA TODAY, "Major League Soccer preseason power rankings: Toronto FC remains MLS Cup favorite," 1 Mar. 2018 The result is that more-conservative chief justice John G. Roberts Jr. is likely to be the new fulcrum of the court rather than the more-moderate Kennedy. Aaron Blake, Washington Post, "The GOP reaps its reward for selling its soul to Trump," 27 June 2018 Midfielder Kevin De Bruyne — one of two players on the team who helped Manchester City dominate the EPL this season — will be the fulcrum of Belgium's potent attack. Jim Reineking, USA TODAY, "2018 World Cup: Iceland, Belgium among sleeper teams to watch," 12 June 2018 Wore down a bit as the season went on, but his sustained run of success as the fulcrum of Oklahoma’s offense was notable. Heather Boehm, SI.com, "Mavs Pick Trae Young No. 5 in 2018 NBA Draft, Reportedly Trade Rights to Hawks," 21 June 2018 This is his first visit to the Bronx as the Miami manager, but even in that strange garb, Mattingly still sits at the fulcrum of so much that has gone on between the two teams over the last few months. David Waldstein, New York Times, "Derek Jeter and Don Mattingly Fall on Wrong Side of a Yankees Rout," 16 Apr. 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.

See More

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

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about fulcrum

Dictionary Entries near fulcrum








Statistics for fulcrum

Last Updated

26 Sep 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for fulcrum

The first known use of fulcrum was in 1659

See more words from the same year

Keep scrolling for more

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, ˈfəl-\
plural fulcrums or fulcra\-krə \

Kids Definition of fulcrum

: the support on which a lever turns in lifting something

Keep scrolling for more

More from Merriam-Webster on fulcrum

Spanish Central: Translation of fulcrum

Nglish: Translation of fulcrum for Spanish Speakers

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about fulcrum

Comments on fulcrum

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


lying above or upon

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Words from Greek and Roman Mythology Quiz

  • the-triumph-of-venus-by-alessandro-magnasco
  • Boreal comes from the name of the ancient Greek god of which wind?
True or False

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


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


Love words? Need even more definitions?

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