- any of several North American felines of the genus Lynx.Compare lynx.
- a yellowish-gray, black-striped feline, Felis sylvestris, of Europe, western Asia, and northern Africa, resembling and closely related to the domestic cat, with which it interbreeds freely.
- a closely related feline, Felis sylvestris libyca, of northern Africa, believed to be the ancestor of the domestic cat.
- any of several other of the smaller felines, as the serval or ocelot.
- a domestic cat that has become feral.
- a quick-tempered or savage person.
- Railroads. a single locomotive operating without a train, as one switching cars.
- an exploratory well drilled in an effort to discover deposits of oil or gas; a prospect well.
- a reckless or unsound enterprise, business, etc.
- Informal. wildcatter(def 2).
- Nautical. a shaped drum on a windlass, engaging with the links of an anchor chain.
- Informal. wildcat strike.
- characterized by or proceeding from reckless or unsafe business methods: wildcat companies; wildcat stocks.
- of or relating to an illicit enterprise or product.
- running without control or regulation, as a locomotive, or apart from the regular schedule, as a train.
- to search an area of unknown or doubtful productivity for oil, ore, or the like, especially as an independent prospector.
- Slang. to engage in a wildcat strike.
- to search (an area of unknown or doubtful productivity) for oil, ore, or the like.
Origin of wildcat
1375–1425; late Middle English wilde cat; compare Middle Low German wildkatte
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018
Examples from the Web for wildcat
The Kansas State Wildcats, meanwhile, are protected by a Thundercats-inspired Willie the Wildcat.The Dummies’ Guide to College Football Bowl Games
January 1, 2013
Meddling with wildcat stocks––asinine any way you figure it!The Gorgeous Girl
Soon all were standing close to the flat rock where the wildcat had been hit.Dave Porter At Bear Camp
Cochise shot past, whirled, and closed in with the fury of a wildcat.Bloom of Cactus
Robert Ames Bennet
But whether they hit the wildcat or not, they could not tell.The Rover Boys on a Hunt
Arthur M. Winfield (Edward Stratemeyer)
I could whip a wildcat and give her the first two scratches.Masters of Space
Edward Elmer Smith
- a wild European cat, Felis silvestris, that resembles the domestic tabby but is larger and has a bushy tail
- any of various other felines, esp of the genus Lynx, such as the lynx and the caracal
- US and Canadian another name for bobcat
- informal a savage or aggressive person
- an exploratory drilling for petroleum or natural gas
- US and Canadian an unsound commercial enterprise
- US and Canadian a railway locomotive in motion without drawing any carriages or wagonsAlso called (in Britain and certain other countries): light engine
- (modifier) US and Canadian
- of or relating to an unsound business enterprisewildcat stock
- financially or commercially unsounda wildcat project
- (modifier) US and Canadian (of a train) running without permission or outside the timetable
- (intr) to drill for petroleum or natural gas in an area having no known reserves
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
Word Origin and History for wildcat
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper