wild oat


noun

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.

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Idioms for wild oat

    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
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2020

British Dictionary definitions for sow one's wild oats

wild oat

noun

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

Idioms and Phrases with sow one's wild oats

sow one's wild oats

Behave foolishly, immoderately or promiscuously when young, as in Brad has spent the last couple of years sowing his wild oats, but now he seems ready to settle down. This expression alludes to sowing inferior wild oats instead of good cultivated grain, the verb sowing—that is, “planting seed”—in particular suggesting sexual promiscuity. [Mid-1500s]

The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.