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.
Sports. an unranked or unproven player or team that is allowed to enter a tournament after regularly qualifying competitors have been selected: The committee added several retired champions as wild cards in the tennis championships.
Digital Technology. a symbol in a search parameter, usually the asterisk or question mark, that will retrieve all results for another character or other characters in its position: The file search is case-sensitive, and wildcards are not supported.
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023
How to use wild card in a sentence
Even though the team finished 11-5, it entered the playoffs as a wild card that seemingly needed more time together to compete with more polished contenders.Tom Brady, the one-man dynasty, was Tampa Bay’s perfect missing piece | Jerry Brewer | February 8, 2021 | Washington Post
The other wild card is whether precipitation changes to a wintry mix or even rain and freezing rain after a period of accumulating snow.D.C. area sees increasing snow chances Sunday and Monday | Jason Samenow, Wes Junker | January 27, 2021 | Washington Post
The Bears reached the playoffs as a wild card after going 8-8 during the regular season.Saints advance to set up a Drew Brees-Tom Brady showdown in second round | Mark Maske | January 11, 2021 | Washington Post
The fifth-seeded Ravens reached the playoffs as a wild card, clinching their spot last Sunday on the final day of the regular season.Lamar Jackson gets his first playoff victory as Ravens hold Titans’ Derrick Henry to 40 yards | Mark Maske | January 10, 2021 | Washington Post
The president has been a wild card almost every budget battle for the past four years, and he may still be one in his final weeks in office.Are we at risk of a Christmas government shutdown? | Amber Phillips | December 2, 2020 | Washington Post
While Collins lost this match, her $9,100 total was enough to earn a wild card and advance.Jeopardy! Champion Julia Collins’s Brain Feels Like Mush | Sujay Kumar | November 20, 2014 | THE DAILY BEAST
I was rooting for the Yankees to not make the wild card as much as I was rooting for the Red Sox to win it all.Mark Wahlberg Discusses ‘Lone Survivor,’ Kate Moss in Playboy, the Red Sox, and More | Marlow Stern | December 23, 2013 | THE DAILY BEAST
The only wild-card is the Secretary of State John Kerry, who is said to be "obsessed" with the issue.
The centrist, pro-guns Halvorson certainly would seem a wild card.
Graham is Kapur's wild card, especially because Graham does face reelection in 2014.
There was one time a tailor, and he was a wild card, always going to sprees.Visions and Beliefs in the West of Ireland, First Series | Lady Gregory
British Dictionary definitions for wild card
See wild (def. 14)
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 © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
Other 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 Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.