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a wildcat (Felis silvestris silvestris)



wildcat (plural wildcats)

  1. A species of cat, Felis silvestris.
  2. Any undomesticated species of cat.
    • 2003, CNN, April 24
      Upon checking it out, we found a total of 13 newborn wildcats, nine newborn tigers and two newborn leopards.
  3. (figuratively) A person who acts like a wildcat, often sexually.
    • 2002, The Young and the Restless (TV, September 26)
      Anyone who's man enough to have landed a wildcat like you had to be quite a guy.
  4. Industrial action carried out without authorization of trade unions; short for "wildcat strike" or "wildcat action".
    A wildcat broke out after the management announced the plan for redundancy.
  5. (firearms) A caliber of ammunition derived by amending another type of cartridge and not made by commercial manufacturers.
  6. (American football) An offensive formation characterized by a direct snap to a running back and an unbalanced offensive line.
  7. (nautical) A wheel that can be adjusted so as to revolve either with, or on, the shaft of a capstan.

Related terms[edit]


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See also[edit]


wildcat (not comparable)

  1. Relating to oil exploration in an area where no oil has been found before.
  2. Unauthorized by the proper authorities.
    • Jewish settlers have also been active putting up five new wildcat outposts on hilltops in the West Bank to try to thwart their Prime Minister Ariel Sharon... (CNN, 2003.06.15)
  3. (dated) Unsound; worthless; irresponsible; unsafe.
    • 1946, Sigurd Jay Simonsen, The Mongrels
      Then the development of the home country was neglected for some wildcat idea of bringing up the backward people of other lands.

Derived terms[edit]



wildcat (third-person singular simple present wildcats, present participle wildcatting, simple past and past participle wildcatted)

  1. To drill for oil in an area where no oil has been found before.
    You'd have to be very rich or very desperate to go wildcatting that far east.

Derived terms[edit]