Origin of wildcat

1375–1425; late Middle English wilde cat; compare Middle Low German wildkatte
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Related Words for wildcat

feline, lynx, bobcat, caracal

Examples from the Web for wildcat

Contemporary Examples of wildcat

Historical Examples of wildcat

  • Meddling with wildcat stocks––asinine any way you figure it!

    The Gorgeous Girl

    Nalbro Bartley

  • Soon all were standing close to the flat rock where the wildcat had been hit.

    Dave Porter At Bear Camp

    Edward Stratemeyer

  • Cochise shot past, whirled, and closed in with the fury of a wildcat.

    Bloom of Cactus

    Robert Ames Bennet

  • But whether they hit the wildcat or not, they could not tell.

    The Rover Boys on a Hunt

    Arthur M. Winfield (Edward Stratemeyer)

  • I could whip a wildcat and give her the first two scratches.

    Masters of Space

    Edward Elmer Smith

British Dictionary definitions for wildcat


noun plural -cats or -cat

a wild European cat, Felis silvestris, that resembles the domestic tabby but is larger and has a bushy tail
any of various other felines, esp of the genus Lynx, such as the lynx and the caracal
US and Canadian another name for bobcat
informal a savage or aggressive person
an exploratory drilling for petroleum or natural gas
US and Canadian an unsound commercial enterprise
US and Canadian a railway locomotive in motion without drawing any carriages or wagonsAlso called (in Britain and certain other countries): light engine
(modifier) US and Canadian
  1. of or relating to an unsound business enterprisewildcat stock
  2. financially or commercially unsounda wildcat project
(modifier) US and Canadian (of a train) running without permission or outside the timetable

verb -cats, -catting or -catted

(intr) to drill for petroleum or natural gas in an area having no known reserves
Derived Formswildcatting, noun, adjective
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

Word Origin and History for wildcat

early 15c., from wild (adj.) + cat (n.). Meaning "savage woman" is recorded from 1570s; sense of "one who forms rash projects" is attested from 1812. The adjective in the financial speculative sense is first recorded 1838, American English.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper