fifth wheel

noun

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

The fifth wheel-type camper fell as Burrow's wife backed up, and the 63-year-old Salisbury man was pinned between the camper and the pickup truck bed, according to investigators. Joe Marusak, charlotteobserver, "He asked his wife to back their truck up 'just a bit.' It killed him, deputies say," 14 June 2018 Both couples looked super lovey dovey cozied up to each other, and what made it even more adorable was that Taylor's model bestie Karlie Kloss tagged along and pretty much made being a fifth wheel look like the best job ever. Noelle Devoe, Seventeen, "Karlie Kloss is the Cutest Fifth Wheel Ever on Double Date with Taylor Swift, Calvin Harris, Gigi Hadid, and Joe Jonas," 29 June 2015 Firefighters arrived within six minutes and found the fifth wheel camper in flames, which were spreading to the home, according to a news release from the fire district. Kim Chatelain, NOLA.com, "Watch Slidell camper fire threaten nearby home," 16 Mar. 2018 More than 100 exhibitors will be on hand with the latest in pop-up campers, truck campers, travel trailers, fifth wheels, motor homes and park models of all sizes. Bob Dohr, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "More than 100 exhibitors will be at Milwaukee RV Show at State Fair Park in West Allis," 26 Feb. 2018 The show boasts more than 600 of the newest RVs all under one roof including tent campers, travel trailers, fifth wheels and motor homes and will span the entire show floor of the I-X Center covering nearly 800,000 square feet. Shirley Macfarland, cleveland.com, "Strongsville student takes part in Poverty Outreach program house at The College of Wooster: Strong Points," 22 Dec. 2017 Some of their favorite memories revolve around cross-country trips in their fifth wheel trailer visiting just about every state over the years. Linda Mcintosh, sandiegouniontribune.com, "Oceanside couple marks two milestones," 4 Oct. 2017

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.

See More

First Known Use of fifth wheel

circa 1874, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about fifth wheel

Share fifth wheel

Statistics for fifth wheel

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for fifth wheel

The first known use of fifth wheel was circa 1874

See more words from the same year

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for fifth wheel

fifth wheel

noun

English Language Learners Definition of fifth wheel

: an extra person who is not needed in a group

More from Merriam-Webster on fifth wheel

See words that rhyme with fifth wheel

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about fifth wheel

Comments on fifth wheel

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

required by fashion, etiquette, or custom

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Words from Greek and Roman Mythology Quiz

  • the-triumph-of-venus-by-alessandro-magnasco
  • Boreal comes from the name of the ancient Greek god of which wind?
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?

TAKE THE QUIZ
Add Diction

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

TAKE THE QUIZ

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!