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the third degree
Intense or thorough interrogation, scrutiny, or questioning. Kayla's boyfriend is so controlling, always giving her the third degree if she goes anywhere or sees anyone without him. I got the third degree from the police regarding my whereabouts during the crime.
Someone who has no real place or purpose in a situation, likened to a superfluous extra wheel on a two-wheeled vehicle. When Kelly invited me to go to the movies, I didn't know that her boyfriend would be joining us. I felt like a third wheel the entire night.
(give somebody) the ˌthird deˈgree(informal) question somebody for a long time and in a thorough way; use threats or violence to get information from somebody: The soldiers were given the third degree in order to make them reveal the information. ♢ Why are you giving me the third degree?This expression comes from Freemasonry (= a secret society). In order to reach the highest level of the organization and become a Third Degree Mason, members are interrogated.
n. an extra person; a person who gets in the way. (see also spare tire.) Well, let’s face it. We don’t need you. You are a third wheel.