wild card


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 \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.
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Recent Examples on the Web

Francona saw Allen as his wild card, in part because the club already had established late-inning relievers but also because Allen was a pitcher who could work in multiple roles and thrive in pressure situations. Roy Parry, OrlandoSentinel.com, "Boone High alum Cody Allen sets Cleveland Indians' career saves mark," 13 July 2018 Lynch is a wild card, a player who once excelled under defensive coordinator Vic Fangio but has battled injuries, weight issues and a suspension since. Colleen Kane, chicagotribune.com, "Bears relying on several comeback stories from their outside linebackers," 12 July 2018 Nick Kyrgios: The great wild card, in more ways than one. Jon Wertheim, SI.com, "Wimbledon 2018 Seed Reports," 1 July 2018 The logo is still a wild card, but the most likely outcome is that the Coyotes will use one of its current logos (primary or alternate). Richard Morin, azcentral, "Here's an educated guess at what the Coyotes' new third jersey could look like," 13 June 2018 Don’t look east for oil’s next wild card, look south. Spencer Jakab, WSJ, "Venezuela’s Brewing Oil Shock May Be Bigger Than Iran’s," 10 May 2018 Global Pantry Thursday Visit Thailand for this week’s wild card, Thai Coconut Chicken Soup. Atlanta Life, ajc, "7 Day Menu Planner," 6 Apr. 2018 Three more to watch: Trey Burton, Philadelphia Eagles; Luke Willson, Seattle Seahawks; Levine Toilolo, Atlanta Falcons One wild cardJarvis Landry, Miami Dolphins: The Dolphins used the franchise tag on Landry what seems like months ago. Dave Birkett, Detroit Free Press, "NFL free agency: Detroit Lions don't need much help at WR, TE positions," 6 Mar. 2018 The wild card, if there is one, is that this will be the most intense judicial confirmation fight since the all-consuming battle over Clarence Thomas in 1991. Ed Kilgore, Daily Intelligencer, "Kavanaugh’s SCOTUS Confirmation Is in the GOP’s Hands," 10 July 2018

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.

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First Known Use of wild card

1971, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for wild card

wild card, playing card with arbitrarily determined value

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Statistics for wild card

Last Updated

30 Aug 2018

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Time Traveler for wild card

The first known use of wild card was in 1971

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More Definitions for wild card

wild card


English Language Learners Definition of 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

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Comments on wild card

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a magnificent or impressive array

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