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wild oat

noun
1.
any uncultivated species of Avena, especially a common weedy grass, A. fatua, resembling the cultivated oat.
2.
a hardy plant, Uvularia sessilifolia, of the lily family, of eastern North America, having deep green, hairy leaves and greenish-yellow, tubular flowers.
Idioms
3.
sow one's wild oats, to have a youthful fling at reckless and indiscreet behavior, especially to be promiscuous before marriage.
Origin
1490-1500
1490-1500
Dictionary.com Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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British Dictionary definitions for sow one's wild oats

wild oat

noun
1.
any of several temperate annual grasses of the genus Avena, esp A. fatua, that grow as weeds and have long bristles on their flower spikes
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Idioms and Phrases with sow one's wild oats
Behave foolishly, immoderately or promiscuously when young, as in Brad has spent the last couple of years sowing his wild oats, but now he seems ready to settle down. This expression alludes to sowing inferior wild oats instead of good cultivated grain, the verb sowing—that is, “planting seed”—in particular suggesting sexual promiscuity. [ Mid-1500s ]
The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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Encyclopedia Article for sow one's wild oats

wild oat

any of several tufted annual grasses of the genus Avena (family Poaceae), native to Eurasia. Wild oats are sometimes cut for hay, and young plants provide forage for grazing animals

Learn more about wild oat with a free trial on Britannica.com
Encyclopedia Britannica, 2008. Encyclopedia Britannica Online.
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