1 a : prop; specifically : the support about which a lever turns
b : one that supplies capability for action
2 : a part of an animal that serves as a hinge or support
Did You Know?
Fulcrum, a word that means "bedpost" in Latin, derives from the verb fulcire, which means "to prop." When the word fulcrum was used in the 17th century, it 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.
"Normally, bending involves using the hip as a fulcrum, and erector spinae muscles to support our trunk. When Jackson leaned over, he transferred the fulcrum to the ankle, with the calf and Achilles tendon under strain." — Jake Rossen, Mental Floss, 22 May 2018
"In 2014, then-Attorney General Greg Abbott issued a nonbinding opinion advising that bag bans are legal if they are not aimed at 'solid waste management.' That murky phrase, which appears in the Texas Health and Safety Code, has become the fulcrum for debate on the issue." — Emma Platoff, The Texas Tribune, 22 June 2018
Test Your Vocabulary with M-W Quizzes
Test Your Vocabulary
What word can refer to an arrangement of ropes and wheels for lifting or pulling something or to a set of equipment used in a particular activity?VIEW THE ANSWER
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