from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • n. A person who performs feats of balance, such as tightrope walking.
  • from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

    • n. One who balances equally; one who practises balancing in unnatural positions and hazardous movements, as a rope-dancer or funambulist.


  • Another, an equilibrist, showed her how, when he was obliged to stay in bed with a broken leg and had nobody to wait on him, he used to wait on himself by going round the room on his hands ... like that.

    The Bill-Toppers

  • Naturally a good equilibrist, the girl took easily to the motor-cycle, and even when Joe went at top speed on some smooth road she liked it.

    Joe Strong, the Boy Fish or Marvelous Doings in a Big Tank

  • For the unusual cold and the night work together had betrayed him into potations even beyond his wont, the slippery pavements had proven very baffling to his dignified tread -- and the snowy signet upon the back of his topcoat spoke to a delighted office all too plainly that at last the alcoholic equilibrist par excellence had fallen.

    White Ashes

  • Above, on one side, is an equilibrist swinging on a slack rope; and on the other, a man flying from the tower to the ground, by means of a groove fastened to his breast, slipping over a line strained from one place to the other.

    The Works of William Hogarth: In a Series of Engravings With Descriptions, and a Comment on Their Moral Tendency

  • The steward brought me my coffee, and, wedged by boxes and pillows, like an equilibrist, I sat up and drank it.

    Chapter 30

  • He was laboring over a gigantic treadmill, balancing like an equilibrist upon a revolving sphere.

    Rainbow's End

  • In the ruins of Herculaneum there is still visible a picture representing an equilibrist executing several different exercises, especially one in which he dances on a rope to the tune of a double flute, played by himself.

    Anomalies and Curiosities of Medicine


The word 'equilibrist' comes ultimately from Latin roots meaning 'equal' and 'balance'.