Definition of wild card
1 : an unknown or unpredictable factor
2 : one picked to fill a leftover playoff or tournament berth after regularly qualifying competitors have all been determined
3 usually wildcard play \ˈwī(-ə)l(d)-ˌkärd\ : a symbol (such 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 in a sentence
The joker is a wild card.
Taxes are the wild card in this election.
The team made it into the play-offs as the wild card.
Origin and Etymology of wild card
wild card, playing card with arbitrarily determined value
First Known Use: 1971
WILD CARD Defined for English Language Learners
Definition of wild card for English Language Learners
: 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
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