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See also: wild card and wild-card



wild +‎ card


  • (file)


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wildcard (plural wildcards)

  1. (computing) A character that takes the place of any other character or string that is not known or specified.
    • 1968, Digital Equipment Corporation, VAX/VMS 319(5864), page 751, Section 2.1.2 Using Wildcard Characters
      A wildcard character is a symbol that you can use with many DCL commands to apply the command to several files at once, rather than specifying each file individually.
    If the character * is acting as a wildcard, then the pattern a*m matches each of the words amalgam, atom and alum.
  2. (also written wild card) An uncontrolled or unpredictable element.
    • 2008 February 8, Eli Kintisch, “From Gasoline Alleys to Electric Avenues”, in Science[1], 319(5864), page 751:
      There are several technical wildcards, such as how the larger battery packs--four times larger than those of the Prius--will withstand the rigors of city driving, []
  3. (also written wild card) An element, often deliberately concealed, which is withheld for contingency.
  4. (sports, card games) Alternative form of wild card.
    • 2011 June 28, Piers Newbery, “Wimbledon 2011: Sabine Lisicki beats Marion Bartoli”, in BBC Sport[2]:
      German wildcard Sabine Lisicki conquered her nerves to defeat France's Marion Bartoli and take her amazing Wimbledon run into the semi-finals.

Usage notes[edit]

  • A wild card in card games is usually written as two separate words. The computing term is usually written as one compound word.



wildcard (third-person singular simple present wildcards, present participle wildcarding, simple past and past participle wildcarded)

  1. (computing) To replace or supplement with a wildcard character to allow matching against a range of possible values.
    • 2002, Eric Van der Vlist, XML Schema, page 183:
      The unfortunate consequence is that document elements cannot be wildcarded because a schema needs to provide a closed list of possible document elements.



wildcard m (plural wildcards)

  1. wildcard