Definition of wild card in US English:

wild card


  • 1A playing card that can have any value, suit, color, or other property in a game at the discretion of the player holding it.

    • ‘In this version all the threes and the two jokers are wild cards that can represent any other card.’
    • ‘The jokers may be shuffled into the deck as wild cards as well if you like, which also makes the game a bit more interesting.’
    • ‘It was subsequently adopted in versions of Poker, Rummy and other games as a wild card which could be used as a substitute for any desired card.’
    • ‘The pack has 132 cards - three suits of different colours each contain 41 letter cards and two wild cards and there are three wild cards that can be used with any suit.’
    • ‘If your team starts a meld of wild cards, you cannot add any wild cards to any of your other melds until your wild card canasta is complete.’
    • ‘Jokers can be used wild cards to substitute for any card in a three or four, with the following restrictions.’
    • ‘The joker is a wild card which can be used only as an ace, or to complete a straight, a flush or a straight flush.’
    • ‘Further cards, beyond seven, can be added to a canasta, but if you add wild cards to a pure canasta, this degrades it to a mixed canasta.’
    • ‘Jokers can be used as wild cards to stand for any card from three to ace.’
    • ‘Again, the Jokers are wild cards, and can be played at any time on any trick, with only rare exceptions.’
    • ‘You can also make a meld consisting entirely of wild cards - twos and jokers.’
    • ‘No card is turned for trumps - the only trumps are the four wild cards.’
    • ‘The Reds were four games out of the wild card race with 23 games remaining.’
    • ‘Jokers are true wild cards, and can be used to complete any combination.’
    • ‘Since they are wild cards, any player holding one will be able to lay it off on the rapper's combinations.’
    • ‘If the joker is turned up, there are no wild cards and the value of the hand is doubled.’
    • ‘A meld containing three natural cards can have any number of wild cards added to it, since the first wild card added makes the meld a canasta.’
    • ‘A natural meld can be turned into a mixed meld by adding wild cards to it.’
    • ‘The jokers are not scoring cards but wild cards which can take on any value from 2 to 14.’
    • ‘It seems that wild cards are often used in four-card and five-card brag, but that three card brag is more often played without them.’
    1. 1.1 A person or thing whose influence is unpredictable or whose qualities are uncertain.
      • ‘The Brotherhood is the wild card in the reform game.’
      • ‘He too forfeits, the sex and mystery of a wild card like Coco no longer in his life.’
      • ‘It remains the wild card in an economic game that is still too close to call.’
      • ‘One wild card is the uncertainty surrounding the membership of the FCC.’
      • ‘We then need to address the role of ‘carbon sinks’, which remain the wild card in the search for flexible, low-cost solutions.’
    2. 1.2Computing A character that will match any character or sequence of characters in a search.
      • ‘You can run the program against multiple files by using wild cards in the filename.’
      • ‘If you can remember only part of a phrase, for instance, you can use an asterisk as a wild card: ‘A Nightingale sang in * Square’ will tell you it was Berkeley Square.’
      • ‘Try the asterisk (*) wild card when searching for a phrase.’
      • ‘Many search engines employ wild cards - special symbols, usually an asterisk (*), that you add to a term to indicate different possibilities.’
      • ‘For a complete explanation of OpenSSL ciphers, including all supported wild cards, see the ciphers man page.’
    3. 1.3 An opportunity to enter a sports competition without having to take part in qualifying matches or be ranked at a particular level.
      • ‘Hingis will, undoubtedly, be showered with wild cards to enter any tournament she chooses.’
      • ‘Montgomerie, of course, is no certainty to play in the Ryder Cup, but if he fails to qualify, a wild card will surely be his.’
      • ‘‘Yayuk failed to receive the wild card as her world ranking in both singles and doubles event did not meet the qualification,’ Benny explained.’
      • ‘As for Cejka, there is much to admire in the German's play from tee-to-green, but one has to think that his relatively poor putting may work against him in the face of such stiff competition for a wild card.’
      • ‘The young Bulgarian entered the competition with a wild card, thanks to one of the most popular management companies in the world, IMG.’
    4. 1.4 A player or team granted a wild card.
      • ‘The next season gave us the world champion Ravens, a 12-4 wild card team that finished 8-8 in 1999.’
      • ‘Even if this team sneaks into the playoffs as a wild card, it clearly is not a playoff-caliber team.’
      • ‘With two new divisions and no additional playoff spots, the realignment shuffle is going to make it all the more difficult for teams to reach the postseason as a wild card.’
      • ‘To gain the playoffs as the wild card, a team will need 90 wins, according to the best estimates.’
      • ‘The realignment with four divisions within each conference makes it so that the four division winners plus two wild cards will make the playoffs from both the AFC and NFC.’


wild card

/ˈwaɪl(d) ˌkɑrd//ˈwīl(d) ˌkärd/