wild oat


: any of several Old World wild grasses (genus Avena)
especially : a Eurasian annual weed (A. fatua) common in meadows and pastures
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 Charming with a keen sense of duty, Anthony sows his wild oats before intending to find a wife in season 2. Charlotte Walsh, Peoplemag, 3 May 2023 There was a riot of nettles, ferns, ryegrass, scutch, goosefoot, wild oat, green amaranth, chicory, sorrel, cockspur, and the like, otherwise known as weeds by farmers throughout the world. . . . Joan Acocella, The New Yorker, 10 Oct. 2022 He is shown in the Netflix’s series as encouraging his young protege to sow his wild oats and enjoy his liaison with Camilla – but not to marry her. Simon Perry, PEOPLE.com, 14 Dec. 2019 Plant these natives to make an interesting meadow: purple three awn (Aristida purpurea), nodding needle grass (Stipa cernua), deer grass (Muhlenbergia rigens) and wild oat grass (Elymus condensatus) 15. Nan Sterman, San Diego Union-Tribune, 2 Oct. 2019 Namely, Delilah wants the repressed, overly disciplined Stella to sow some wild oats. Duane Byrge, The Hollywood Reporter, 14 Aug. 2019 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, 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, 2 Nov. 2017 See More

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'wild oat.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History

First Known Use

15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

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

Dictionary Entries Near wild oat

Cite this Entry

“Wild oat.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/wild%20oat. Accessed 29 Sep. 2023.

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