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wild oat

any uncultivated species of Avena, especially a common weedy grass, A. fatua, resembling the cultivated oat.
a hardy plant, Uvularia sessilifolia, of the lily family, of eastern North America, having deep green, hairy leaves and greenish-yellow, tubular flowers.
sow one's wild oats, to have a youthful fling at reckless and indiscreet behavior, especially to be promiscuous before marriage.
Origin of wild oat
First recorded in 1490-1500 Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for wild oat
Historical Examples
  • Yes, he made a devoted husband, never a wild oat to sow after his marriage.

  • One of the most interesting species of the genus is the Avena fatua (wild oat), well known as a weed in stiff arable soils.

  • If by cultivation the wild oat assumes the cultivated form, then by degeneracy cultivated oats may become wild ones.

  • The banks of this basin were clothed with a sort of wild oat and interspersed with a small blue wild flower.

  • Presently some wild oat sown, brings to that home, as yet publicly undisgraced, its full-grown harvest of shame.

    Ginger-Snaps Fanny Fern
  • On every hand wheat and corn and clover had taken the place of the wild oat, the hazelbush and the rose.

British Dictionary definitions for wild oat

wild oat

any of several temperate annual grasses of the genus Avena, esp A. fatua, that grow as weeds and have long bristles on their flower spikes
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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