from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • adj. A wheel which can be adjusted so as to revolve either with, or on, the shaft of a capstan.
  • adj. Unsound; worthless; irresponsible; unsafe; -- said to have been originally applied to the notes of an insolvent bank in Michigan upon which there was the figure of a panther.
  • adj. Running without control; running along the line without a train.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • n. A cat of the original feral stock from which have descended some varieties of the domestic cat; the European Felis catus, living in a state of nature, not artificially modified in any way.
  • n. Hence One of various species of either of the genera Felis and Lynx; especially, in North America, the bay lynx (L. rufus) and Canada lynx (L. canadensis), and sometimes the cougar (F. concolor). See cat, and cuts under cougar and lynx.
  • Wild; reckless; haphazard: applied especially to unsound business enterprises: as, wildcat banking (see below); wildcat currency (currency issued by a wildcat bank); a wildcat scheme (a reckless, unstable venture); wildcat stock (stock of some wildcat or unsound company or organization).
  • n. Nautical, a deeply grooved iron wheel on a windlass or capstan. On the side faces of the groove are radial projecting ribs in pairs called whelps, so spaced that they catch the alternate links of the chain cable.
  • n. A formational name applied in Kentucky to a conglomerate of Carboniferous ago (Wildcat Mountain Conglomerate), and in California to a series of sediments of Pliocene age.
  • n. Same as niggerhead, 4.
  • n. An oil-well, mine, or the like discovered in wildcatting (which see).

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • adj. outside the bounds of legitimate or ethical business practices
  • n. an exploratory oil well drilled in land not known to be an oil field
  • n. a cruelly rapacious person
  • n. any small or medium-sized cat resembling the domestic cat and living in the wild
  • adj. (of a mine or oil well) drilled speculatively in an area not known to be productive
  • adj. without official authorization


Sorry, no etymologies found.


  • Mr. Cline, managing partner of Accretive LLC, a New York-based private investment firm, has given $5 million to Panthera, a wild-cat conservation group.

    Documenting Wild Cats

  • He was a strong man, too, and very cunning, and when he was angry he made noises just like that, fith-fith, like a wild-cat.


  • And doing my work well, the innate justice of the men, assisted by their wholesome dislike for a clawing and rending wild-cat ruction, soon led them to give over their hectoring.


  • I might be beaten in the subsequent fight, but I left the impression that I was a wild-cat and that I would just as willingly fight again.


  • They also sought peace within the Nation: protection of their currency, fairer wages, the ending of long hours of toil, the abolition of child labor, the elimination of wild-cat speculation, the safety of their children from kidnappers.

    David O. Russell: FDR Said It All in 1936 -- Who Will Follow in His Steps Today?

  • He appears to think that spiritual wickedness is a combination of animal ferocities, and has accordingly made a compendium of the most striking qualities of tiger, wolf, cur, and wild-cat, in the hope of framing out of such elements a suitable brute-demon to serve as the hero of his novel.

    The Little Professor:

  • I believe he downed two of them, for I saw one reel away clutching his face, with blood running through his fingers, and another pitched headlong at his feet, and then the little officer was on him like a wild-cat, thrusting at his body.


  • The wild-cat was frequently surprised in the dark ravines or the swampy thickets; and the wolf, already a stranger to the more populous districts of the Lothians, here maintained his ground against the encroachments of man, and was still himself a terror to those by whom he was finally to be extirpated.

    Castle Dangerous

  • Just send wild-cat oilmen into space and plant nuclear charges in the asteroid's core.

    Daniel Goldin: Wandering Black Holes

  • “Such friendship as is between the wild-cat and the terrier,” replied the rider.

    The Monastery


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