verb (used with object)

to cause to lose one's way.
to bewilder.

verb (used without object)

to lose one's way.
to be bewildered.

Origin of wilder

1605–15; perhaps extracted from wilderness; intransitive use probably by association with wander
Related formswil·der·ment, noun




comparative of wild.




BillySamuel Wilder, 1906–2002, U.S. film director, producer, and writer; born in Austria.
Laura In·galls [ing-guh lz] /ˈɪŋ gəlz/, 1867–1957, U.S. writer of children's books.
Thorn·ton (Niv·en) [thawrn-tn niv-uh n] /ˈθɔrn tn ˈnɪv ən/, 1897–1975, U.S. novelist and playwright.



adjective, wild·er, wild·est.

living in a state of nature; not tamed or domesticated: a wild animal; wild geese.
growing or produced without cultivation or the care of humans, as plants, flowers, fruit, or honey: wild cherries.
uncultivated, uninhabited, or waste: wild country.
uncivilized or barbarous: wild tribes.
of unrestrained violence, fury, intensity, etc.; violent; furious: wild strife; wild storms.
characterized by or indicating violent feelings or excitement, as actions or a person's appearance: wild cries; a wild look.
frantic or distracted; crazy: to drive someone wild.
violently or uncontrollably affected: wild with rage; wild with pain.
undisciplined, unruly, or lawless: a gang of wild boys.
unrestrained, untrammeled, or unbridled: wild enthusiasm.
disregardful of moral restraints as to pleasurable indulgence: He repented his wild youth.
unrestrained by reason or prudence: wild schemes.
amazing or incredible: Isn't that wild about Bill getting booted out of the club?
disorderly or disheveled: wild hair.
wide of the mark: He scored on a wild throw.
Informal. intensely eager or enthusiastic: wild to get started; wild about the new styles.
Cards. (of a card) having its value decided by the wishes of the players.
Metallurgy. (of molten metal) generating large amounts of gas during cooling, so as to cause violent bubbling.


in a wild manner; wildly.


Often wilds. an uncultivated, uninhabited, or desolate region or tract; waste; wilderness; desert: a cabin in the wild; a safari to the wilds of Africa.

verb (used with object), wild·ed, wild·ing.

to travel around as a group, attacking or assaulting (people) in a random and violent way: The man was wilded and left for dead.


    blow wild, (of an oil or gas well) to spout in an uncontrolled way, as in a blowout.Compare blowout(def 4).
    in the wild,
    1. in a natural state or in the wilderness.
    2. in the real world; in real life:language learning in the classroom and in the wild.
    run wild,
    1. to grow unchecked: The rambler roses are running wild.
    2. to show lack of restraint or control: Those children are allowed to run wild.

Origin of wild

before 900; Middle English, Old English wilde; cognate with Dutch, German wild, Old Norse villr, Swedish vild, Gothic wiltheis
Related formswild·ly, adverbwild·ness, nounhalf-wild, adjectivehalf-wild·ly, adverbhalf-wild·ness, nouno·ver·wild, adjectiveo·ver·wild·ly, adverbo·ver·wild·ness, nounsem·i·wild, adjectivesem·i·wild·ly, adverbsem·i·wild·ness, nounun·wild, adjectiveun·wild·ly, adverbun·wild·ness, noun

Synonyms for wild

Antonyms for wild

1. tame.
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for wilder

Contemporary Examples of wilder

Historical Examples of wilder

British Dictionary definitions for wilder


verb archaic

to lead or be led astray
to bewilder or become bewildered
Derived Formswilderment, noun

Word Origin for wilder

C17: of uncertain origin



Billy, real name Samuel Wilder. 1906–2002, US film director and screenwriter, born in Austria. His films include Double Indemnity (1944), The Lost Weekend (1945), Sunset Boulevard (1950), The Seven Year Itch (1955), Some Like it Hot (1959), The Apartment (1960), and Buddy Buddy (1981)
Thornton. 1897–1975 US novelist and dramatist. His works include the novel The Bridge of San Luis Rey (1927) and the play The Skin of Our Teeth (1942)



Jonathan. ?1682–1725, British criminal, who organized a network of thieves, highwaymen, etc, while also working as an informer: said to have sent over a hundred men to the gallows before being hanged himself



(of animals) living independently of man; not domesticated or tame
(of plants) growing in a natural state; not cultivated
uninhabited or uncultivated; desolatea wild stretch of land
living in a savage or uncivilized waywild tribes
lacking restraintwild merriment
of great violence or intensitya wild storm
disorderly or chaoticwild thoughts; wild talk
dishevelled; untidywild hair
in a state of extreme emotional intensitywild with anger
recklesswild speculations
not calculated; randoma wild guess
unconventional; fantastic; crazywild friends
(postpositive foll by about) informal intensely enthusiastic or excited
(of a card, such as a joker or deuce in some games) able to be given any value the holder pleasesjacks are wild
wild and woolly
  1. rough; untamed; barbarous
  2. (of theories, plans, etc) not fully thought out


in a wild manner
run wild
  1. to grow without cultivation or care
  2. to behave without restraint


(often plural) a desolate, uncultivated, or uninhabited region
the wild
  1. a free natural state of living
  2. the wilderness
Derived Formswildish, adjectivewildly, adverbwildness, noun

Word Origin for wild

Old English wilde; related to Old Saxon, Old High German wildi, Old Norse villr, Gothic wiltheis
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 wilder



"to run wild," Old English awildian (see wild (adj.)). Wilding in the teen gang sense first recorded 1989.



Old English wilde "in the natural state, uncultivated, undomesticated," from Proto-Germanic *wilthijaz (cf. Old Saxon wildi, Old Norse villr, Old Frisian wilde, Dutch wild, Old High German wildi, German wild, Gothic wilþeis "wild," German Wild (n.) "game"), probably from PIE *ghwelt- (cf. Welsh gwyllt "untamed"), related to the base of Latin ferus (see fierce).

Ursula ... hath bin at all the Salsbury rasis, dancing like wild with Mr Clarks. [letter, 1674]

Meaning "sexually dissolute, loose" is attested from mid-13c. U.S. slang sense of "exciting, excellent" is recorded from 1955. The noun meaning "uncultivated or desolate region" is first attested 1590s in the wilds. Baseball wild pitch is recorded from 1867. Wildest dreams first attested 1961 (in Carson McCullers). Wild West first recorded 1849. Wild Turkey brand of whiskey (Austin Nichols Co.) in use from 1942.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

Idioms and Phrases with wilder


In addition to the idioms beginning with wild

  • wild about, be
  • wild card
  • wild goose chase
  • wild horses couldn't drag me
  • wild oats
  • wild pitch

also see:

  • go hog wild
  • go wilding
  • run amok (wild)
  • sow one's wild oats
The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.