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wildcat

[wahyld-kat] /ˈwaɪldˌkæt/
noun, plural wildcats (especially collectively) wildcat for 1–4.
1.
any of several North American felines of the genus Lynx.
Compare lynx.
2.
a yellowish-gray, black-striped feline, Felis sylvestris, of Europe, western Asia, and northern Africa, resembling and closely related to the domestic cat, with which it interbreeds freely.
3.
a closely related feline, Felis sylvestris libyca, of northern Africa, believed to be the ancestor of the domestic cat.
4.
any of several other of the smaller felines, as the serval or ocelot.
5.
a domestic cat that has become feral.
6.
a quick-tempered or savage person.
7.
Railroads. a single locomotive operating without a train, as one switching cars.
8.
an exploratory well drilled in an effort to discover deposits of oil or gas; a prospect well.
9.
a reckless or unsound enterprise, business, etc.
10.
Informal. wildcatter (def 2).
11.
Nautical. a shaped drum on a windlass, engaging with the links of an anchor chain.
12.
Informal. wildcat strike.
adjective
13.
characterized by or proceeding from reckless or unsafe business methods:
wildcat companies; wildcat stocks.
14.
of or pertaining to an illicit enterprise or product.
15.
running without control or regulation, as a locomotive, or apart from the regular schedule, as a train.
verb (used without object), wildcatted, wildcatting.
16.
to search an area of unknown or doubtful productivity for oil, ore, or the like, especially as an independent prospector.
17.
Slang. to engage in a wildcat strike.
verb (used with object), wildcatted, wildcatting.
18.
to search (an area of unknown or doubtful productivity) for oil, ore, or the like.
Origin
late Middle English
1375-1425
1375-1425; late Middle English wilde cat; compare Middle Low German wildkatte
Dictionary.com Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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Examples from the web for wildcat
  • There's a wildcat mounted in a tree, and below it three wolves chorusing their voiceless howls.
  • Angry doctors, some of whom claim to be earning less than bus-drivers, have already staged wildcat strikes.
  • Labour unions help industrial peace by discouraging wildcat strikes.
  • He sold some neighboring leases and managed to raise enough for one last wildcat, but this too came in dry.
  • The wildcat creek waterway has many recreational opportunities for outdoor enthusiasts.
British Dictionary definitions for wildcat

wildcat

/ˈwaɪldˌkæt/
noun (pl) -cats, -cat
1.
a wild European cat, Felis silvestris, that resembles the domestic tabby but is larger and has a bushy tail
2.
any of various other felines, esp of the genus Lynx, such as the lynx and the caracal
3.
(US & Canadian) another name for bobcat
4.
(informal) a savage or aggressive person
5.
an exploratory drilling for petroleum or natural gas
6.
(US & Canadian) an unsound commercial enterprise
7.
(US & Canadian) a railway locomotive in motion without drawing any carriages or wagons Also called (in Britain and certain other countries) light engine
8.
(modifier) (US & Canadian)
  1. of or relating to an unsound business enterprise: wildcat stock
  2. financially or commercially unsound: a wildcat project
9.
(modifier) (US & Canadian) (of a train) running without permission or outside the timetable
verb -cats, -catting, -catted
10.
(intransitive) to drill for petroleum or natural gas in an area having no known reserves
Derived Forms
wildcatting, noun, adjective
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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Word Origin and History for wildcat
n.

early 15c., from wild (adj.) + cat (n.). Meaning "savage woman" is recorded from 1570s; sense of "one who forms rash projects" is attested from 1812. The adjective in the financial speculative sense is first recorded 1838, American English.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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Slang definitions & phrases for wildcat

wildcat

modifier

Done or ventured individually, apart from ordinary corporate structures: a wildcat well/ a wildcat cab (1883+)

noun
  1. A mixture of the drugs cat (metcathenone) and cocaine (1990s+ Narcotics)
  2. (also wildcat strike) A strike not authorized by the union authorities (1937+ Labor union)
verb

To drill for oil, esp without strong corporate and financial backing (1877+)

[fr the independent behavior of feral felines; in the 1840s a Western bank issued banknotes picturing a wildcat and then suspended payment; in early 1900s show business, to wild-cat meant to book a theater tour day-by-day]


The Dictionary of American Slang, Fourth Edition by Barbara Ann Kipfer, PhD. and Robert L. Chapman, Ph.D.
Copyright (C) 2007 by HarperCollins Publishers.
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