fifth wheel


Definition of fifth wheel

1a : 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 : one that is superfluous, unnecessary, or burdensome

Examples of fifth wheel in a Sentence

He felt more and more like a fifth wheel at the office.
Recent Examples on the Web For me, the fifth wheel; for them; for society en masse. Ali Francis, Bon Appétit, 24 Nov. 2021 Silverstar Lite fifth wheel and travel trailers equipped with a Winntec model 6020 two-stage propane regulator. Detroit Free Press, 26 June 2021 Maggie accepts but initially feels like a fifth wheel. Jeanne Jakle, San Antonio Express-News, 24 June 2021 The price varies based on the model and staging among other factors, but the minimum budget required is $50,000 for a fifth wheel or $30,000 for a travel trailer. Kelly Allen, House Beautiful, 11 Aug. 2020 The fifth-wheel landing legs may not be seated properly with enough space between the brackets which are welded to the chassis, allowing the fifth wheel to slip down the landing leg and can puncture the floor of the vehicle. Detroit Free Press, 10 July 2020 Three adults camping near Camp Verde in Yavapai County were rescued after several feet of water from a winter storm surrounded their truck and fifth wheel trailer. Mike Cruz, azcentral, 3 Dec. 2019 The huge fifth wheel, designed and patented by its creator, was a thing of beauty. Denise Coffey,, 28 June 2019 People at the scene attempted to use a fire extinguisher to put out the flames, which sparked on the fifth wheel of the trailer, according to CHP. Gwendolyn Wu,, 25 June 2019

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'fifth wheel.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of fifth wheel

circa 1874, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

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Time Traveler for fifth wheel

Time Traveler

The first known use of fifth wheel was circa 1874

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fifth wheel


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Statistics for fifth wheel

Last Updated

6 Dec 2021

Cite this Entry

“Fifth wheel.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 21 Jan. 2022.

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More Definitions for fifth wheel

fifth wheel


English Language Learners Definition of fifth wheel

: an extra person who is not needed in a group

More from Merriam-Webster on fifth wheel Encyclopedia article about fifth wheel


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