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la cinquième roue du carrosse

Discussion in 'French-English Vocabulary / Vocabulaire Français-Anglais' started by Hairy, May 6, 2007.

  1. Hairy Member

    English-France
    Hello there everyone,
    I came across this expression in a text in which, after many organization problems in a company, a manager is relieved to be at last allowed a certain amount of autonomy in his work.
    "je ne suis plus la cinquième roue du carrosse"
    I like this expression very much, it means that at last the manager feels he has some authority, that he is allowed to make decisions...that he is not just an extra or a bystander (that is, if I'm not mistaken)
    I do not however know of an english equivalent or if there is one.
    Thanks for any suggestions
     
  2. mgarizona

    mgarizona Senior Member

    Phoenix, AZ
    US - American English
    "fifth wheel" in English as well.

    We usually say "to feel like a fifth wheel" rather than "to be a fifth wheel" though.
     
  3. Hairy Member

    English-France
    Thanks very much Arizona
    I wonder if any Brits are used to this expression ?
     
  4. mgarizona

    mgarizona Senior Member

    Phoenix, AZ
    US - American English
    The OED shows it used in English (BE) since 1631. (First citation is a Thomas Dekker play called Match Me In London.)

    A citation from the 1960s does give "the fifth wheel of the coach" so perhaps that's the common BE form?
     
  5. Hairy Member

    English-France
    Wow that's brutal !
    Under what word in the OED, Arizona ?
     
  6. mgarizona

    mgarizona Senior Member

    Phoenix, AZ
    US - American English
    "Fifth"
     
  7. marget Senior Member

    What does brutal mean? I can't figure it out. Thanks in advance!:)
     
  8. Hairy Member

    English-France
    Cheers, mate.
    lol for brutal ! It's like "cool", "wicked", "ace" but nobody except old farts like me use it anymore !
     
  9. Suehil

    Suehil Medemod

    Tillou, France
    British English
    I know it as 'fifth wheel on the wagon' and I'm a Brit. Much the same as ' a spare d..k at a wedding.'
     
  10. tilt

    tilt Senior Member

    Nord-Isère, France
    French French
    I wish I wont offend anyone, but I would like to know what the two dots are supposed to be, up there. :D
    I guess they are not uc. Could they be ic?
     
  11. Suehil

    Suehil Medemod

    Tillou, France
    British English
    Yes, Tilt, ic
     
  12. Hairy Member

    English-France
    Thanks to all for contributions
     
  13. 3szilliox Member

    Strasbourg
    FRANCE, Français
    Alors est-ce que 'feel like the fifth wheel' est une expression vulgaire en anglais ? ou ça peut être écrit dans un exposé ?
    et est-ce qu'il vaut mieu ecrire 'feel like the fifth wheel' ou '...the fifth wheel of the coach' ?

    merci !
     
  14. Suehil

    Suehil Medemod

    Tillou, France
    British English
    'The fifth wheel on the wagon' is not vulgar. It is colloquial but totally acceptable.
     
  15. 3szilliox Member

    Strasbourg
    FRANCE, Français
    thanx,
    nice dog !
     

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