wild card

(redirected from wildcards)
Also found in: Dictionary, Encyclopedia.
Related to wildcards: Wildcard character

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 ?
Jaziri, the world number 117, entered the tournament on a wildcard and went on to reach the semifinals - his first semifinal in a Premier 500 tournament.
Johannesburg [South Africa], August 16 ( ANI ): Russian tennis star Maria Sharapova will be playing her first Grand Slam after coming back from the 15-month doping back after receiving wildcard for the US Open which begins August 28.
It had been expected that the FFT would hand Sharapova, who won the 2012 and 2014 titles on the Parisian clay at least a wildcard into the qualifying tournament.
The club's sub-committee, which will be chaired by former British number one Tim Henman, will then meet and make a decision on Sharapova - as long as the Russian does not qualify by ranking and submits a wildcard application.
North believed he would be exempt from needing a wildcard on the grounds there was no offer on the table from a Welsh side when he penned his latest contract extension with Northampton.
Wimbledon bosses the All England Lawn Tennis Club (AELTC) will confirm the first batch of wildcards for this year's SW19 showdown today, moving as usual on LTA guidance.
1 A phishing wildcard is a set of symbols describing a group of links detected by the system as phishing links.
The talented teenage ace from Albrighton said: "I'm so pleased to get the wildcard because it's a massive, massive meeting.
The four wildcards joined the 12 original finalists to test their nerves and voices in front of a live television audience for the first time on Saturday night.
A ninth European in the top 20, Paul Casey, missed out on automatic selection and was not given a wildcard by the side's captain Colin Montgomerie.
Both have been granted wildcards to next week's Wimbledon Championships, both were born in January, barely a year apart - and both are fiercely ambitious.
Fellow Britons Anne Keothavong, Naomi Cavaday and Melanie South have also been handed wildcards.
Harkleroad, one of three wildcards in the 64-player draw, allowed Shinobu Asagoe just two more games after overcoming a 3-0 deficit in the first set to earn the matchup with Venus.
The 20-year-old is one of four British players to earn main draw wildcards to the event, which officially opens the 2004 grass court season.
Baltacha will join other British wildcards in Amanda Janes, Jane O'Donoghue and Melanie South.