fu·​nam·​bu·​lism | \ fyu̇-ˈnam-byə-ˌli-zəm How to pronounce funambulism (audio) \

Definition of funambulism

1 : tightrope walking
2 : a show especially of mental agility

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Other Words from funambulism

funambulist \ fyu̇-​ˈnam-​byə-​list How to pronounce funambulism (audio) \ noun

Did You Know?

Back in ancient Rome, tightrope walking was a popular spectacle at public gatherings. The Latin word for "tightrope walker" is "funambulus," from the Latin funis, meaning "rope," plus ambulare, meaning "to walk." It doesn't take any funambulism on our part to see how the word for an impressive act of physical skill and agility came to mean an impressive act of mental skill or agility. That extended sense of the word has been around since at least 1886, when British academic and writer Augustus Jessopp described the act of diagramming sentences as "horrible lessons of ghastly grammar and dreary funambulism."

First Known Use of funambulism

1801, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for funambulism

Latin funambulus ropewalker, from funis rope + ambulare to walk

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The first known use of funambulism was in 1801

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Cite this Entry

“Funambulism.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 15 Jun. 2021.

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