Quantcast
Merriam-Webster Logo
  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
  • Scrabble
  • Spanish Central
  • Learner's Dictionary

fifth wheel

noun

Simple Definition of fifth wheel

  • : an extra person who is not needed in a group

Source: Merriam-Webster's Learner's Dictionary

Full Definition of fifth wheel

  1. 1 a :  a horizontal wheel or segment of a wheel that consists of two parts rotating on each other above the fore axle of a carriage and that forms support to prevent tipping b :  a similar coupling between tractor and trailer of a semitrailer

  2. 2 :  one that is superfluous, unnecessary, or burdensome

Examples of fifth wheel in a sentence

  1. He felt more and more like a fifth wheel at the office.



Circa 1874

First Known Use of fifth wheel

circa 1874


Learn More about fifth wheel


Seen and Heard

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

WORD OF THE DAY

the range of perception or understanding

Get Word of the Day daily email!

WORD GAMES

Take a 3-minute break and test your skills!

alt-5746713d76276

Which of these is a synonym of nonplus?

perplex disapprove soothe reduce
Name That Thing

Test your visual vocabulary with our 10-question challenge!

TAKE THE QUIZ
SCRABBLE® Sprint

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

TAKE THE QUIZ