fifth wheel


: 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
: a similar coupling between tractor and trailer of a semitrailer
: 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 Jason and Rae Miller, founders of the Getaway Couple and Nomadic News, used to travel the country in a fifth wheel travel trailer measuring 42 feet long, eight feet wide, and 13.5 feet tall. Ashlea Halpern, Condé Nast Traveler, 16 Apr. 2024 The entire industry depends on this, the jaws of the fifth wheel clamping properly around the kingpin. Emily Gogolak, Harper's Magazine, 9 Jan. 2024 Kim Kardashian will be the fifth wheel for Netflix. Mia Galuppo, The Hollywood Reporter, 26 Nov. 2023 After taking the space Carrie wanted to deny her, Seema shows up to dinner to be the fifth wheel at dinner with Aidan, Miranda, Charlotte, and Carrie. Aimée Lutkin, ELLE, 3 Aug. 2023 Their 47-foot fifth wheel, and home, is their third camper. Byalena Botros, Fortune, 20 June 2023 These revisions are supplemented by new trailering technology, including adaptive cruise control with trailering, gross combination weight (GCW) alert, and GM's Transparent Trailer View is now also compatible for gooseneck and fifth wheel trailering. Austin Irwin, Car and Driver, 1 May 2023 Get factory-direct prices on top RV brands and see the latest floorplans on a fifth wheel with a large kitchen or a compact camper van. Brendel Hightower, Detroit Free Press, 7 Jan. 2023 Cameras help the driver line up a hitch or fifth wheel, and there's an optional accessory camera for the back of a trailer to give drivers a view behind them. Jack Fitzgerald, Car and Driver, 6 Oct. 2022

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'fifth wheel.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History

First Known Use

circa 1874, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

Time Traveler
The first known use of fifth wheel was circa 1874

Dictionary Entries Near fifth wheel

Cite this Entry

“Fifth wheel.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 21 Jun. 2024.

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