Pronunciation: (wīld'kat"), [key]
—n., pl. -cats, (esp. collectively) -cat for 1–4,
—adj., v., -cat•ted, -cat•ting.
1. any of several North American felines of the genus Lynx. Cf. lynx.
2. 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.
3. a closely related feline, Felis sylvestris libyca, of northern Africa, believed to be the ancestor of the domestic cat.
4. any of several other of the smaller felines, as the serval or ocelot.
5. a domestic cat that has become feral.
6. a quick-tempered or savage person.
7. Railroads.a single locomotive operating without a train, as one switching cars.
8. an exploratory well drilled in an effort to discover deposits of oil or gas; a prospect well.
9. a reckless or unsound enterprise, business, etc.
10. Informal.wildcatter (def. 2).
11. Naut.a shaped drum on a windlass, engaging with the links of an anchor chain.
12. Informal.See wildcat strike.
1. characterized by or proceeding from reckless or unsafe business methods: wildcat companies; wildcat stocks.
2. of or pertaining to an illicit enterprise or product.
3. running without control or regulation, as a locomotive, or apart from the regular schedule, as a train.
1. to search an area of unknown or doubtful productivity for oil, ore, or the like, esp. as an independent prospector.
2. Slang.to engage in a wildcat strike.
to search (an area of unknown or doubtful productivity) for oil, ore, or the like.
Random House Unabridged Dictionary, Copyright © 1997, by Random House, Inc., on Infoplease.