wild man

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See also: wildman and wild-man


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From Middle English wilde man, equivalent to wild +‎ man.


wild man (plural wild men)

  1. A primitive man who dwells outside of civilized society; a savage person without culture.
    • 1820, Washington Irving, "The Widow's Ordeal" in The Crayon Papers:
      He had rescued the duchess from the very fangs of the monster, which, he assured the ladies, was neither a wolf, nor a bear, nor yet a wild man of the woods.
    • 1914, Jack London, "The Strength of the Strong":
      "So said Hair-Face, and they killed him, because, they said, he was a wild man and wanted to go back and live in a tree."
  2. A violent, dissolute, rash, or rowdy man.
    • 1879, Anthony Trollope, John Caldigate, ch. 18:
      [H]e was a sinner, unregenerated, a wild man in her estimation, a being of quite another kind than herself.
    • 1901, Upton Sinclair, King Midas, ch. 1:
      "David and I are very enthusiastic people, and we want to be able to make lots of noise. . . . David is quite a wild man when he gets excited with music."
    • 1905, Jack London, The Game, ch. 3:
      He's a wild man, with all kinds of punches,—a whirlwind,— and he gets his man in the first rounds.
    • 2014 March 14, Stephen Holden, "Where Performance Enhancers Are Legal" (film review), New York Times (retrieved 4 June 2015):
      In no time, she has persuaded him to unleash his inner wild man, and soon they are washing down pills with booze and bouncing off the walls.
  3. A man who advocates unorthodox or outrageous opinions or who behaves in an eccentric manner.
    • 1946 May 27, "Textron's Trick," Time (retrieved 4 June 2015):
      "They're saying I'm a wild man. If I turn the trick, they'll say I'm a genius."
      So said Royal Little, the mild, 50-year-old president of Textron Inc., whose unconventional production ideas have built a textile empire in less than three years.
    • 2011 April 1, George Johnson, "Richard Feynman, the Thinker" (book review), New York Times (retrieved 4 June 2015):
      In popular lore, Feynman often comes off as the wild man of physics, throwing out one crazy idea after another in a frenzied search for truth.


Further reading[edit]