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être la cinquième roue du carrosse

The French expression “être la cinquième roue du carrosse” translates literally to “to be the fifth wheel of the coach”. The meaning of this particular expression is very easy to guess:

  • to feel like the third wheel

The French version of this expression actually makes a bit more sense than in English. Can you imagine – a coach with five wheels!?

Here’s an example sentence:

Hier soir je suis allé au restaurant avec Marie et Pierre. Je me suis amusé mais je me sentais comme la cinquième roue du carrosse. Yesterday evening I went out to eat with Marie and Pierre. I had fun but I felt like the third wheel.

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David Issokson

David Issokson is a lifelong language enthusiast. His head is swimming with words and sounds as he speaks over six languages. Of all the languages he speaks, he's the most passionate about French! David has helped hundreds of students to improve their French in his private online lessons. When procrastinating working on his site,, David enjoys his time skiing and hiking in Teton Valley, Idaho.

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