phrases, sayings, idioms and expressions at

Put a poke in one's wheel

Posted by ESC on February 01, 2003

In Reply to: Third Spoke in the wheel posted by Kurt on January 31, 2003

: A friend of mine was quoted by his retiring Boss as being like a third spoke in the wheel at his place of business where he works. What does it mean?

There's "fifth wheel," someone who isn't necessary. And there's "to put a spoke in one's wheel."

TO PUT A SPOKE IN ONE'S WHEEL -- "When you are not in accord with another person's plans or projects, you 'put a spoke in his wheel' by taking some action that will interfere with or impede his progress. The expression goes back to the sixteenth century and alluded to the use, by carters, of an extra spoke or bar which could be thrust between the spokes or wheel so that that wheel would drag and serve as a brake in descending a hill." From "2107 Curious Word Origins, Sayings & Expressions from White Elephants to a Song and Dance" by Charles Earle Funk (Galahad Book, New York, 1993).