Also found in: Dictionary, Thesaurus, Medical, Acronyms, Encyclopedia, Wikipedia.
A film or theatrical production about the American West (i.e., a western), especially one that is clichéd or formulaic. My grandfather and I had a tradition of watching old oat operas every Sunday on TV.
The youthful rebelliousness or promiscuity that one partakes in before settling down. Most commonly used in the phrase "sow (one's) wild oats." Bill and I had to break up because I was looking to get married, and he just wanted to sow his wild oats! You can't sow your wild oats forever! Soon, you'll want a wife and a house, and you'll regret the things you're doing now.
get (one's) oats
slang To have sexual intercourse, especially frequently. Primarily heard in UK. Bill is hardly ever home anymore—he must be getting his oats now that he's single again.
sow (one's) wild oats
To engage in rebelliousness or promiscuity, typically in one's youth before settling down. Bill and I had to break up because I was looking to get married, and he just wanted to sow his wild oats. You can't sow your wild oats forever! Soon, you'll want a wife and a house, and you'll regret the things you're doing now.
feel (one's) oats
1. To be very active and energetic. The dog must be feeling his oats, considering how he's running around the yard today.
2. To be aware of one's own power or importance. If you sassed the boss like that, you must be feeling your oats!
off (one's) oats
old-fashioned Disinclined to eat; having little or no appetite. Mrs. Bailey said you were off your oats, sir, so I brought you some chicken broth to keep your energy up.
feel one's oats
Fig. to be very lively. Careful with that horse. He's feeling his oats today. Mary was feeling her oats and decided to go out dancing.
sow one's wild oats
to do wild and foolish things in one's youth. (often assumed to have some sort of sexual meaning.) Jack was out sowing his wild oats last night, and he's in jail this morning. Mrs. smith told Mr. smith that he was too old to be sowing his wild oats.
feel one's oats
1. Feel frisky or animated, as in School was out, and they were feeling their oats. This usage alludes to the behavior of a horse after having been fed. [Early 1800s]
2. Display self-importance, as in He was feeling his oats, bossing everyone around. [Mid-1800s]
sow one's wild oats
Behave foolishly, immoderately or promiscuously when young, as in Brad has spent the last couple of years sowing his wild oats, but now he seems ready to settle down . This expression alludes to sowing inferior wild oats instead of good cultivated grain, the verb sowing-that is, "planting seed"-in particular suggesting sexual promiscuity. [Mid-1500s]
feel your oatsAMERICAN, INFORMAL
If you feel your oats, you are full of energy and excitement. This success has Ralph Raina, one of the area's most prominent businessmen, feeling his oats. Murphy is feeling his oats as a budding movie star.
sow your wild oatsRUDE
If someone, especially a young man, sows their wild oats, they have many sexual relationships which are not serious and do not last long. This survey shows that men see nothing wrong in sowing their wild oats before settling down. To settle down with the first man you met means you haven't had a chance to sow your wild oats. Note: In this expression, the behaviour of young people is compared to someone sowing wild oats, which cannot be eaten, on good ground instead of edible oats.
feel your oatsfeel lively and buoyant. US informal
Oats are used as feed for horses, making them friskier and more energetic.
get your oatshave sexual intercourse. informal
1965 William Dick A Bunch of Ratbags I was kissing her excitedly and passionately… Cookie, you're gonna get your oats tonight for sure, I thought to myself.
off your oatslacking an appetite. informal
sow your wild oatsgo through a period of wild or promiscuous behaviour while young.
Wild oats are weeds found in cornfields which resemble cultivated oats: spending time sowing them would be a foolish or useless activity. The expression has been current since the late 16th century; from the mid 16th to the early 17th century, wild oat was also used as a term for a dissolute young man.
get your ˈoats(British English, informal) have sex regularly
sow your wild ˈoats(informal) (usually used of young men) enjoy yourself before you get married and settle down: The problem is that he never sowed his wild oats before he got married, and he wants to sow them now. Wild oats are weeds that grow in fields and look like real oats. Sowing them would be a silly or useless activity.
feel (one's) oats
1. To be energetic and playful.
2. To act in a self-important manner.
feel one's oats, to
To act frisky or lively. This saying, with its analogy to a horse that is lively after being fed, is American in origin and dates from the early nineteenth century. It appeared in print in Amos Lawrence’s Extracts from Diary and Correspondence (1833): “We both ‘feel our oats’ and our youth.”
See also: feel
wild oats, to sow one's
To behave foolishly and indulge in excess while one is young. The term has been around since at least the late sixteenth century. It alludes to sowing inferior wild grain instead of superior cultivated grain, analogous here to sexual promiscuity, and suggests that one will eventually outgrow such foolishness. As Thomas Hughes wrote in Tom Brown at Oxford (1861), “A young fellow must sow his wild oats,” but he then adds, “You can make nothing but a devil’s maxim of it.”