wild oat


Definition of wild oat

1 : any of several Old World wild grasses (genus Avena) especially : a Eurasian annual weed (A. fatua) common in meadows and pastures
2 wild oats plural : offenses and indiscretions ascribed to youthful exuberance usually used in the phrase sow one's wild oats

Examples of wild oat in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web

Teenagers need to test boundaries and sow a few wild oats; when that teenager is a witch, the stakes are a bit higher. Jennifer Ouellette, Ars Technica, "Chilling Adventures of Sabrina," 18 Dec. 2018 And for a modern update on the classic oatmeal bath remedy, Pai Instant Calm Redness Serum delivers sea aster and wild oat in a lotion gel to strengthen blood vessels and minimize flushing — no matter the forecast. Kari Molvar, New York Times, "How to Protect Your Skin Against Winter Dryness," 2 Nov. 2017

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

First Known Use of wild oat

15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about wild oat

Statistics for wild oat

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for wild oat

The first known use of wild oat was in the 15th century

See more words from the same century

More from Merriam-Webster on wild oat

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about wild oat

Comments on wild oat

What made you want to look up wild oat? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


highly pertinent or appropriate

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Time Traveler Quiz: Which Word Came First?

  • time traveler quiz which word came first
  • Which came first?
True or False

Test your knowledge - and maybe learn something along the way.

Bee Cubed

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!