noun, plural wildcats (especially collectively) wildcat for 1–4.
any of several North American felines of the genus Lynx. Compare lynx.
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.
a closely related feline, Felis sylvestris libyca, of northern Africa, believed to be the ancestor of the domestic cat.
any of several other of the smaller felines, as the serval or ocelot.
a domestic cat that has become feral.
a quick-tempered or savage person.
Railroads. a single locomotive operating without a train, as one switching cars.
an exploratory well drilled in an effort to discover deposits of oil or gas; a prospect well.
a reckless or unsound enterprise, business, etc.
Informal. wildcatter ( def 2 ).
Nautical. a shaped drum on a windlass, engaging with the links of an anchor chain.
Informal. wildcat strike.
characterized by or proceeding from reckless or unsafe business methods: wildcat companies; wildcat stocks.
of or pertaining to an illicit enterprise or product.
running without control or regulation, as a locomotive, or apart from the regular schedule, as a train.
verb (used without object), wildcatted, wildcatting.
to search an area of unknown or doubtful productivity for oil, ore, or the like, especially as an independent prospector.
Slang. to engage in a wildcat strike.
verb (used with object), wildcatted, wildcatting.
to search (an area of unknown or doubtful productivity) for oil, ore, or the like.

1375–1425; late Middle English wilde cat; compare Middle Low German wildkatte

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Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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World English Dictionary
wildcat (ˈwaɪldˌkæt)
n , 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) Also called (in Britain and certain other countries): light engine a railway locomotive in motion without drawing any carriages or wagons
8.  (US), (Canadian) (modifier)
 a.  of or relating to an unsound business enterprise: wildcat stock
 b.  financially or commercially unsound: a wildcat project
9.  (US), (Canadian) (modifier) (of a train) running without permission or outside the timetable
vb , -cats, -cat, -cats, -catting, -catted
10.  (intr) to drill for petroleum or natural gas in an area having no known reserves
n, —adj

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition
2009 © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
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Word Origin & History

1418, from wild (adj.) + cat. Meaning "savage woman" is recorded from 1573; sense of "one who forms rash projects" is attested from 1812. The adj. in the financial speculative sense is first recorded 1838, Amer.Eng.
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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Example sentences
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.
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