Wild oats

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

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Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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World English Dictionary
wild oat
 
n
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

wild oats
 
pl n
slang the indiscretions of youth, esp dissoluteness before settling down (esp in the phrase sow one's wild oats)

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition
2009 © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
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American Heritage
Idioms & Phrases

wild oats

see sow one's wild oats.

The American Heritage® Dictionary of Idioms by Christine Ammer.
Copyright © 1997. Published by Houghton Mifflin.
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Idioms & Phrases
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