• A tightrope walker.

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Example Sentences

“Excellent core strength is necessary for the balance displayed by a funambulist.” 

“The star of the circus was the funambulist dancing high above the crowd on a tightrope.”

“A mime performs without any sound or props, while a funambulist performs feats of balance and physical skill.”

Word Origin

French, late 18th century

Why this word?

The literal definition of “funambulist” is “tightrope walker.” In Latin, “funis” means “rope” and “ambulare” is “to walk.” In ancient Rome, tightrope walking was a popular sight at public markets and gatherings. Today, you might see a funambulist at the circus, but they aren’t limited to the big top. Philippe Petit is a French high-wire artist who gained notoriety in the 1970s by walking wires stretched between the towers of the Notre Dame Cathedral and the Twin Towers of the World Trade Center. This skilled funambulist was profiled in the Oscar-winning documentary “Man on Wire.”

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