Word Origin & History
O.E. wilde "in the natural state, uncultivated, undomesticated," from P.Gmc. *wilthijaz (cf. O.S. wildi, O.N. villr, O.Fris. wilde, Du. wild, O.H.G. wildi, Ger. wild, Goth. wilþeis "wild," Ger. Wild (n.) "game"), probably from PIE *ghwelt- (cf. Welsh gwyllt "untamed"), related to the base of L.
ferus (see fierce
"Ursula ... hath bin at all the Salsbury rasis, dancing like wild with Mr Clarks." [letter, 1674]
Meaning "sexually dissolute, loose" is attested from mid-13c. U.S. slang sense of "exciting, excellent" is recorded from 1955. The noun meaning "uncultivated or desolate region" is first attested 1590s in the wilds. Baseball wild pitch is recorded from 1867. Wildest dreams first attested 1961 (in Carson McCullers). Wildlife "fauna of a region" is attested from 1879. Wild West first recorded 1849. Wild Turkey brand of whiskey (Austin Nichols Co.) in use from 1942.
"to run wild," O.E. awildian (see wild
(adj.)). Wilding in the teen gang sense first recorded 1989.