Wildcard meaning

wīld'kärd'
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A playing card whose value can vary as determined by its holder.
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An athlete or team selected to compete in a tournament or playoff from among those who did not qualify by meeting the regular requirements.
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A symbol that stands for one or more unspecified characters, used especially in searching text and in selecting multiple files or directories.
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An unpredictable or unforeseeable factor.

A surprise witness proved to be the wild card at the trial.

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(computing) A character that takes the place of any other character or string that is not known or specified.

In searching, if a*m finds amalgam, atom and alum, then * is acting as a wildcard.

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(also written wild card) An uncontrolled or unpredictable element.
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(also written wild card) An element, often deliberately concealed, which is withheld for contingency.
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(sports) Alternative form of wild card.
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