EXAMPLES | WORD ORIGIN adjective of, constituting, or including a wild card. . Informal of, being, or including an unpredictable or unproven element, person, item, etc. . Sports of, being, or including an unseeded or unproven participant or team, as a team in a championship tournament that has not placed first in its league or area. Origin of wild-card
First recorded in
1955–60 noun . Cards a card having its value decided by the wishes of the players. a determining or important person or thing whose qualities are unknown, indeterminate, or unpredictable: In a sailboat race the weather is the wild card. . Tennis a player, usually without ranking, who is allowed to enter a tournament at the discretion of the tournament committee after regularly qualifying competitors have been selected. Origin of wild card
First recorded in
Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019
Examples from the Web for wild-card Contemporary Examples of wild-card British Dictionary definitions for wild-card noun sport a player or team that has not qualified for a competition but is allowed to take part, at the organizers' discretion, after all the regular places have been taken an unpredictable element in a situation computing a symbol that can represent any character or group of characters, as in a filename
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
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Word Origin and History for wild-card n.
1927, in figurative sense, from literal use in poker, from
wild (adj.) + card (n.). Sports team sense first recorded 1959.
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
Idioms and Phrases with wild-card
An unpredictable person or event, as in
Don't count on his support—he's a wild card, or A traffic jam? That's a wild card we didn't expect. This expression comes from card games, especially poker, where it refers to a card that can stand for any rank chosen by the player who holds it. The term was adopted in sports for an additional player or team chosen to take part in a contest after the regular places have been taken. It is also used in computer terminology for a symbol that stands for one or more characters in searches for files that share a common specification. Its figurative use dates from the mid-1900s.
The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary
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