sow one's wild oats


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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.
See also: oat, sow, wild

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]
See also: oat, sow, wild

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.”
See also: sow, wild