Definition of fifth wheel in English:

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fifth wheel

Pronunciation: /ˌfi(f)TH ˈ(h)wēl/

noun

chiefly North American
1An extra wheel for a four-wheeled vehicle.
Example sentences
  • Mann adds that a sliding fifth wheel helps drivers get into tight places.
  • And while you're driving, why don't you give a thought and a thanks to those nameless engineers and designers who have devoted so much attention to this most important fifth wheel.
1.1 informal A superfluous person or thing.
Example sentences
  • Though they tried to include me in their activities I generally declined their invitations not wanting to be a third wheel or a fifth wheel or a seventh wheel.
  • I was now the fifth wheel, and I hated being the fifth wheel.
  • I grew tired of being the fifth wheel so I got up and went into my room to study.
2A coupling between a trailer and a vehicle used for towing.
Example sentences
  • We are now equipped with a new truck and fifth wheel and ready to follow the sun once more.
2.1 (also fifth-wheel trailer) A trailer with accommodations for camping out.
Example sentences
  • We'd buy a large pickup truck and a fifth-wheel trailer and would travel the United States indefinitely - a retirement many couples enjoy immensely.
  • On the other hand, my parents own a fifth-wheel trailer.
  • In February 2003, my wife and I began our year as usual by hooking up our fifth-wheel trailer and travelling south for some winter sun.
2.2 historical A horizontal turntable over the front axle of a carriage as an extra support to prevent its tipping.

For editors and proofreaders

Syllabification: fifth wheel

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