Fifth Wheel

What does Fifth Wheel mean?

An individual who feels like they don’t fit in

Feeling like a ‘Fifth Wheel’ is when a person feels left out in a group setting. It’s a common feeling when you’re hanging out with two couples who are getting all lovey-dovey, and you’re just there, not part of a pair.

It’s very similar to being a ‘Third Wheel’, but in this case, there are two pairs of couples involved, not just one. Just like bikes and cars have wheels in twos or fours, a third or fifth wheel is considered out of place, contributing to that feeling of being the odd one out.

This situation can occur for many reasons. Sometimes, a group of friends may invite their single friend along out of sympathy. Or, you might have been having fun with your friends, but then they start cuddling up on the couch and you’re left feeling like the ‘Fifth Wheel’.

Example for using ‘Fifth Wheel’ in a conversation

Hey, are you free tonight?

Yeah, I don’t have any plans. What’s up?

Well, Sarah and John invited me to go bowling with them and two other couples. Wanna come?

Sure, that sounds like fun! But wait, won’t I be the fifth wheel?