wild card

noun
|Updated on: 19 Jul 2018

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

  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.

Recent Examples of wild card from the Web

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'wild card.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

Origin and Etymology of wild card

wild card, playing card with arbitrarily determined value


WILD CARD Defined for English Language Learners

wild card

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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