wild card


Also found in: Dictionary, Thesaurus, Medical, Acronyms, Encyclopedia, Wikipedia.

wild card

1. In a card game, a card that the player can choose to represent any card. He's going to play his wild card as an ace to win.
2. Someone or something that is unpredictable. He is too much of a wild card to be a successful candidate. Nobody wants to vote for someone wildly unpredictable. The wild card in this game will be the weather.
3. A person or team who is permitted to participate in an event or competition, such as a round of playoffs, without having to adhere to the usual entry protocol. The wild card rarely wins the championship, but anything is possible.
4. In computing, a character that is substituted for an unknown character in a search. An asterisk is often used as a wild card in database searches.
See also: card, wild

wild card

An unpredictable person or event, as in Don't count on his support-he's a wild card, or A traffic jam? That's a wild card we didn't expect. This expression comes from card games, especially poker, where it refers to a card that can stand for any rank chosen by the player who holds it. The term was adopted in sports for an additional player or team chosen to take part in a contest after the regular places have been taken. It is also used in computer terminology for a symbol that stands for one or more characters in searches for files that share a common specification. Its figurative use dates from the mid-1900s.
See also: card, wild

a wild card

You describe someone or something as a wild card when they cause uncertainty because nobody knows how they will behave or what effects they will have. Some Italians think of her as a possible wild card in next year's presidential election. Note: In games such as poker, a wild card is a card that can have any value a player chooses.
See also: card, wild
References in periodicals archive ?
One victory at next week's WTA Tour event in Rome would boost Sharapova's ranking enough to earn her direct entry into Wimbledon qualifying but she would need to reach the semi-finals to book her spot in the main draw without the need for a wild card.
Houston beat the Yankees in last year's wild card play-in before falling to the eventual WS champion Royals in the LDS.
The Wild Card Selection Round will be open to eligible persons of Indian Origin including NRIs and PIOs.
99 per month, including text and picture messaging, IM and e-mail, with users receiving their second month free when activating their Wild Card.
If Wasps win, Gloucester will automatically be in Europe and will then have to miss the Wild Card final.
British players will still get wild cards but only if they are in the men's top 300 or women's top 250.
The wild card play-offs are going to be very important for us,'' said Richards.
Eight wild cards into the tournament are available each year for men and women, the vast majority of which traditionally go to British players - although Goran Ivanisevic famously received one in 2001 when he went on to win the coveted grand slam title.
The asterisk also is a wild card when you conduct a search or a replacement, and it works in all applications, including Excel.
The tyranny of the division championship is dead, and the laurel of victory rests upon the brows of the heroes of the wild card movement.
Kevi Sutter, designer, and Geri Gale, director of sales and marketing, both will continue to work for Wild Card and its sales network will remain in place.
Wild Card Roasters, LLC, an artisan coffee roasting company, is supporting breast cancer research funding for local hospitals and community organizations that provide breast health education, breast cancer screening and treatment with the launch of its new coffees-- Astral Blend[TM] & Decaf Astral Blend[TM] under their Weaver's Coffee & Tea brand.
NAOMI BROADY is hoping to hire a coach again with the money she earns from her Wimbledon wild card.
With the advent of the wild card (1995) and interleague play (1997), the playing field (pardon the pun) no longer was level.
SENDAI in Japan and El Salvador in Central America have both been selected as winners of the Imex in Frankfurt Wild Card competition for 2012 - the show's 10th anniversary year.