Mixed Metaphors That Work: “Reinventing the Third Wheel” (alt: “Reinventing the Fifth Wheel”)
Posted by danspira
Reinventing the Third Wheel – mixed metaphor – (combination of “reinventing the wheel” and “third wheel”) – A phrase used to describe an activity which is simultaneously unnecessary, obsolete and counterproductive, despite the fact that it may involve a good deal of effort and ingenuity.
Usage notes: To be applied only to the most absurd situations, with emphasis on the word “third,” otherwise it just sounds like an unintentional mixed metaphor. Can also be rendered as “reinventing the fifth wheel,” which is the original form of the second idiom and which carries less of a social interaction (e.g. dating) connotation.