View synonyms for wildcat


[ wahyld-kat ]


, plural wild·cats, (especially collectively) wild·cat
  1. any of several North American felines of the genus Lynx. Compare lynx.
  2. 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.
  3. a closely related feline, Felis sylvestris libyca, of northern Africa, believed to be the ancestor of the domestic cat.
  4. any of several other of the smaller felines, as the serval or ocelot.
  5. a domestic cat that has become feral.
  6. a quick-tempered or savage person.
  7. Railroads. a single locomotive operating without a train, as one switching cars.
  8. an exploratory well drilled in an effort to discover deposits of oil or gas; a prospect well.
  9. a reckless or unsound enterprise, business, etc.
  10. Nautical. a shaped drum on a windlass, engaging with the links of an anchor chain.
  11. Informal. wildcat strike.


  1. characterized by or proceeding from reckless or unsafe business methods:

    wildcat companies; wildcat stocks.

  2. of or relating to an illicit enterprise or product.
  3. running without control or regulation, as a locomotive, or apart from the regular schedule, as a train.

verb (used without object)

, wild·cat·ted, wild·cat·ting.
  1. to search an area of unknown or doubtful productivity for oil, ore, or the like, especially as an independent prospector.
  2. Slang. to engage in a wildcat strike.

verb (used with object)

, wild·cat·ted, wild·cat·ting.
  1. to search (an area of unknown or doubtful productivity) for oil, ore, or the like.


/ ˈwaɪldˌkæt /


  1. a wild European cat, Felis silvestris, that resembles the domestic tabby but is larger and has a bushy tail
  2. any of various other felines, esp of the genus Lynx, such as the lynx and the caracal
  3. another name for bobcat
  4. informal.
    a savage or aggressive person
  5. an exploratory drilling for petroleum or natural gas
  6. an unsound commercial enterprise
  7. a railway locomotive in motion without drawing any carriages or wagons Also called (in Britain and certain other countries)light engine
  8. modifier
    1. of or relating to an unsound business enterprise

      wildcat stock

    2. financially or commercially unsound

      a wildcat project

  9. modifier (of a train) running without permission or outside the timetable


  1. intr to drill for petroleum or natural gas in an area having no known reserves

Discover More

Derived Forms

  • ˈwildˌcatting, nounadjective

Discover More

Word History and Origins

Origin of wildcat1

1375–1425; late Middle English wilde cat; compare Middle Low German wildkatte

Discover More

Example Sentences

Running back Royce Freeman reportedly is the emergency quarterback on the roster, and the Broncos could use a wildcat formation at times Sunday with a direct snap to a running back.

The Kansas State Wildcats, meanwhile, are protected by a Thundercats-inspired Willie the Wildcat.

Ole Cousin Wildcat walk all 'roun' de tree, rubbin' hisse'f, but he aint sayin' nothin'.

Dey stretch out dey neck en step high wid dey foot, yit dey aint git too close ter Mr. Wildcat.

Of course she could not speak a word of English, and was as fierce as a little wildcat.

But this newcomer, with the wildcat smell, seemed about as big as three wildcats.

"He's been running a good deal on wildcat lately," suggested North.





wild carrotwildcat bank