from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • n. Any of various wild felines of small to medium size, especially of the genus Lynx, including the bobcat and the caracal.
  • n. Either of two small felines (Felis silvestris subsp. silvestris or subsp. lybica) of Europe, Asia, and Africa, often regarded as being the ancestor of the domestic cat.
  • n. A quick-tempered person.
  • n. A person regarded as fierce.
  • n. An oil or natural-gas well drilled in an area not known to be productive.
  • n. A workers' strike unauthorized by their union.
  • adj. Risky or unsound, especially financially.
  • adj. Issued by a financially irresponsible bank: wildcat currency.
  • adj. Operating or accomplished outside the norms of standard, ethical business procedures: wildcat life insurance schemes.
  • adj. Of, relating to, or being an oil or natural-gas well drilled speculatively in an area not known to be productive.
  • adj. Undertaken by workers without approval of the officials of their union: a wildcat strike.
  • transitive v. To prospect for (oil, for example) in an area supposed to be unproductive.
  • intransitive v. To prospect for oil or other minerals in an area not known to be productive.
  • intransitive v. To go out on an unauthorized labor strike.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. A species of cat, Felis silvestris.
  • n. Any undomesticated species of cat.
  • n. a person who acts like a wildcat, often sexually
  • n. a caliber of ammunition derived by amending another type of cartridge and not made by commercial manufacturers.
  • n. In the labor movement, anything done outside of the control of bosses or trade unions.
  • n. an offensive formation characterized by a direct snap to a running back and an unbalanced offensive line
  • adj. relating to oil exploration in an area where no oil has been found before
  • adj. unauthorized by the proper authorities
  • adj. unsound; worthless; irresponsible; unsafe
  • v. to drill for oil in an area where no oil has been found before


Sorry, no etymologies found.



Log in or sign up to get involved in the conversation. It's quick and easy.

  • He separates the two for fear of indignities, so that the mystery is cut in every cord; the design wildcats down the charter mortalis, and you get crime.
    —Djuna Barnes, Nightwood

    Most unusual use of 'wildcat' as a verb. I'm not even entirely clear what it means here. Also, the only ghits for 'charter mortalis' are this quote.

    November 21, 2008