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wild card


: a playing card that can represent any other card in a game

: a person or thing that could affect a situation in a way that cannot be predicted : an unknown or unpredictable factor

sports : a player or team chosen to fill a place in a competition after the regularly qualified players or teams have all been decided

Full Definition of WILD CARD

:  an unknown or unpredictable factor
:  one picked to fill a leftover playoff or tournament berth after regularly qualifying competitors have all been determined
usually wild·card :  a symbol (as ? or *) used in a keyword database search to represent the presence of zero, one, or more than one unspecified characters

Examples of WILD CARD

  1. The joker is a wild card.
  2. Taxes are the wild card in this election.
  3. The team made it into the play-offs as the wild card.

Origin of WILD CARD

wild card, playing card with arbitrarily determined value
First Known Use: 1971


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