- 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
- 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
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]